For the intimacy issue of Varoom Billie Muraben meets Sophi Miyoko Gullbrants, whose work, whether it’s for Dame, a sexual wellness brand, or in her freelance commissions, has a constant lean towards intimacy, whether that’s in relation to other people, with yourself, or how we relate to the wider world.
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Intimacy seems to be a constant theme through your work, is it something you’ve always been interested in representing? 

It’s only on seeing my body of work in hindsight, that I realise there really is a through-line. I think it’s born out of my college work, and a constant craving for what at the time I thought was sex or a relationship, but really was intimacy. I’m always drawing that out of editorials, where I get to pick out what’s amplified emotionally. The job as I see it, is to represent moments of closeness between people or between objects.

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There’s a balance between directness and softness, light and shadow in your work. Is this a conscious decision?

Softness and directness really comes through in who I am as a person — how I want to move through the world, or how I speak, being candid but also acting with empathy. That’s definitely a part of myself that I can see in all of my work. 

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The balance between softness and weight, or dimensionality, is influenced by my ability to sculpt. Before working at Dame, I was fabricating large-scale puppets, and when I draw I’m doing similar additive and subtractive practices. Everything is built up as if it’s clay; elements are removed and then worked back into. That weight in the objects in my work contrasts with the weightlessness of everything around them. 

In a time of isolation and distance, Gullbrants has been seeking warmth, drawing out the emotionality of complex stories, and encouraging us to connect.

To see the full article purchase Varoom 42 here.

 
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