Nov 8, 2013

Mimi Svanberg - Maker of Images and Dreams

© Mimi Svanberg
When I first saw the work of Mimi Svanberg on Instagram, I connected to it immediately. After reading more about Mimi and her process I understand why - she pours so much of herself and her emotion into every piece that she creates, that it is infused with a life of its own that communicates to the viewer. It is with great delight that I present this featured interview with mobile artist Mimi Svanberg. 

Fear © Mimi Svanberg
Fear © Mimi Svanberg
Geri:  What is your name and where do you live? 

Mimi:  My name is Mimi Svanberg I was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden and that's where I reside today but I have moved around a lot and lived in many parts of Sweden. I also lived in New York for approximately 10 years so I feel that is my second home in this world.




Yearnings © Mimi Svanberg
Yearnings © Mimi Svanberg

Geri:  How did you get started with mobile photography?


Mimi:  I started with mobile photography and editing about a year and a half ago when I got my first iPhone. I have always been a creative and driven person always creating and working with my hands with different medias - paint, textile, photo just always having different projects going on. But with two children ages 10 and 8 it's not always easy to find time for big art projects.

It didn't take long until I discovered all the different apps I could get for my new phone and how I could use them to create images. For me making edits has always been a little bit like painting with images. Also it was so accessible and I could bring my little projects with me wherever I went and there would be no mess to clean up. I got really obsessed right away and I would spend almost all my free time with my nose stuck into that little screen. It even made me realize I needed reading glasses, ha ha!!! I felt like a little child again, sitting on my grandma's checkered floor with scissors and old catalogs cutting and pasting together different images creating new worlds. It was just instant love!


Self-Evident © Mimi Svanberg
Self-Evident © Mimi Svanberg

On Your Way Home  © Mimi Svanberg
On Your Way Home (dedicated to my love Mark who is on his way home to me) © Mimi Svanberg

Geri:  What device do you use?

Mimi:  I use an iPhone 5 or a Canon G12 for taking photos and then I use an iPad to create the final image.

Geri:  Do you have a traditional photography or art background?

Mimi:  I have no traditional background with photography but I did go to school with art in focus. I also did take some photography classes when I was young, back in the old days when you had to develop your own film and all. Later I also went to school working mostly with textile, pattern making and sewing. 

You would think that I would end up working in this field, but life always seems to take you out on mysterious paths and during my studies I worked in a kitchen cooking. Working with food was just love for me, such a wonderful creative process where you get to use all your senses. I have been working as a chef for more than 20 years and it has taken me on the most fantastic life journey.


Heaven Faced © Mimi Svanberg
Heaven Faced © Mimi Svanberg

Now is The Only Time © Mimi Svanberg
Now is The Only Time © Mimi Svanberg
Geri:  Who or what inspires your work?

Mimi:  There are many fantastic digital artists inspiring me everyday, I constantly get blown away by the art I see on sites like Instagram or Flickr.

My biggest inspiration is from people and things happening in my surroundings ~ things I see everyday as life unfolds. My two daughters are a huge inspiration and also the little child within myself. My upbringing and my life experiences that I carry with me is a big key to my inspiration and need for creativity.


My images usually spring from my own emotions, I have a need to create to function in my everyday life. My images are often dark and somewhat bizarre and I think it's a way for me to deal with that dark side we all carry inside or the darkness we all get exposed to from society. I do believe we all need to dwell a little bit in the dark sometimes to be able to fully appreciate our self and our life. It's a little bit like therapy or self help.


Finding the balance between the dark side and the bright side in us as humans, the world and myself is what inspires me.



A Journey Within © Mimi Svanberg
A Journey Within © Mimi Svanberg 
The Souls of the Grey Mountain © Mimi Svanberg
The Souls of the Grey Mountain © Mimi Svanberg

Geri:  Do you shoot with the native camera app on your phone or a specialized app like ProCamera?

Mimi:  I just use the native camera app in my iPhone and my Canon G12.

Geri:  You do a lot of composite work combining images to create your masterful pieces. Do you have an idea ahead of time of your final result or does the piece lead you as it unfolds?

Mimi:  I do have a general idea of an edit before I start my process but don't picture a finished image in my mind. It is very often just a feeling or a special mood I am searching for.

As I start playing around with different images it can go anywhere. I love the feeling of losing myself in the process - letting go of everything and let my emotions and imagination lead me.


I shoot crazy amounts of photos but very few actually get used in my edits. A lot of times I see things that I find interesting and I think to myself that I can use this for an edit, but a lot of times those images never get used. I also take a lot of photos of different textures that I use and my two girls are very often subjects for my edits.



Where I End And You Begin © Mimi Svanberg
Where I End And You Begin © Mimi Svanberg

Exit © Mimi Svanberg
Exit © Mimi Svanberg

Geri:  Please share a little bit about your editing process.  Do you have any apps that are a regular part of your workflow?

Mimi:  I love to try new apps but there is a handful of apps I always return to. The apps I use the most are ArtStudio, Snapseed, Blender, iColorama and LensLight. I also love some of the textures in Distressed FX. I think most of my pictures go through these apps at some point in the process. I usually make a lot of different versions of my images with different effects and then I use blender to mix it up. I also do a lot of masking in ArtStudio, smudging and distorting.

I think if I had to choose only one app to work with it would probably be ArtStudio. In my process I can get very obsessed with little details and when I'm done editing I sometimes end up with as many as 30 to 40 different versions of the same image but I'm never really done with an image, at some point I just have to let go of it.




No More Doubts © Mimi Svanberg
No More Doubts © Mimi Svanberg

Geri:  Your titles are as powerful as your work.  Do you have any tips for people like me who have difficulty with titles?

Mimi:  The titles for my images usually come to me afterwords. I never know the titles in the beginning of the process. Sometimes it can take a long time to find the right title and my best tip is to wait and with time the perfect title will come to you.

I get very emotionally attached to the image I'm working on at the moment and a lot of emotions go into my work. When I'm done with an image and I study it as a finished edit
I can see what kind of emotions I was processing within myself during the creation. My titles are very often mirroring my emotional ups and downs and is a little bit like my version of keeping a diary or journal.



New Beginning © Mimi Svanberg
New Beginning © Mimi Svanberg

Geri:  Have you ever exhibited your work?  If not, any plans to do so?

Mimi:  I have had a few smaller exhibitions with my paintings but never with my digital images. It is something I would love to do and I just recently got connected with a gallery here in Stockholm that are interested so hopefully it will happen.

I am also super excited about that I just got asked to do illustrations for a children's book, this is a real dream come true for me.



Find Mimi:  Instagram / Flickr / AMPt 


Neglect © Mimi Svanberg
Neglect © Mimi Svanberg
All images in this feature are copyrighted property of Mimi Svanberg published on Art of Mob with the consent of the artist. 



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5 comments:

  1. Thank you for this wonderful interview. What a pleasure to get to know both of you, a little more, through this.

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  2. I really enjoyed learning more about Mimi - she is one talented lady!

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  3. So awesome... Glad to " met" on IG now

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  4. Wish I possessed this level of creative imagination :-)

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  5. Mimi was selected as one of the Mobile Masters - it's easy to see why!

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