Young Guns 17: Alva Skog
By Brett McKenzie on Nov 04, 2019
Shining a light on the amazing class of Young Guns 17
What happens when you take a jury of 60+ respected creatives, more than 500 entries from all over the globe, and mix them all together for two months of serious consideration, debate and decision-making? Eventually you get the winners of Young Guns 17! This year, The One Club for Creativity is honoring a creatively diverse class of 28 winners, including animators, designers, photographers, illustrators, film directors and editors, all of whom came out of this process as true champions of their craft.
Ahead of the Young Guns 17 Ceremony + Party taking place on November 20, we are featuring the various superstars who will be taking the stage that evening.
London, United Kingdom
First of all, congratulations! Now how did you first discover Young Guns?
I first heard of Young Guns when I was studying at university in 2015. It caught my attention because of previous winners like Stefan Sagmeister (YG1), Jessica Walsh (YG8) and Kate Moross (YG10).It was only this year that I felt like I had a body of work that was ready to enter
Which of the projects that you entered is your personal favorite and why?
I would have to pick the commission I did for The Guardian article 'The Pain of Child Abuse - and How to Survive It'. It was a dream for me for a long time to work with The Guardian. I had just done my degree show when I received a call from the art director, and a few days later it was in print. It was a great feeling.
One of the highlights of entering Young Guns is the ability to submit personal projects alongside professional ones. I understand you took advantage of this...
Yes, I entered a project I made together with Unique Board called As It Is. It is a series of 3D printed sculptures in colors ranging from a light matte blue to a high gloss deep black. Free from sexualization, with their big hands and feet, they are not afraid to take up space. My wish is to criticize narrow body ideals and demands of conforming to bodily perfection. Instead, I want to celebrate differences, since differences are great and As It Is.
How did you react when you learned that you won YG17?
I was so happy! I called my dad straight away and then I did a dance.
How would you describe your creative style?
My work is inspired by the people around me — my mom, my sister and women and non-binary people that are pushing the boundaries of gender identity. My work is also inspired by feminism and feminist issues, and this affects how I represent gender identities. This shapes my style and how I illustrate people. My style is defined by bold colors, sculptural bodies, and skewed or exaggerated perspectives.
What is your favorite tool when it comes to making what you do, something you’d feel naked without?
My tools are my laptop, my iPad and a sketchbook. Then I'm good to go!
What do you do when you hit a creative wall, when you are stuck for ideas and solutions?
Sometimes I just take a break, and sometimes I power through by drawing. If I just sketch a bunch of quick sketches, not caring what they look like, and sketch over them and over them, finally I end up with something I like and then the motivation is back.
Who are some of the biggest influences on your work and career?
All of the people that I have studied with supported, inspired and influenced me a lot. My mom, my dad, and my sister have always supported me. There are tutors who have helped me work independently. People I don't personally know that have influenced my work or career include artists like Marlene Dumas, Helene Schjerbeck, Lee Crasner and feminist science fiction authors like Marge Piercy and Ursula K. Le Guin.
Now that you’re in the Young Guns family, are there any past winners that you look up to and admire?
Kate Moross, Bráulio Amado (YG13) and Olimpia Zagnoli (YG9)!
Name a creative dream that you have yet to fulfill.
I'd like to collaborate with inspiring people on projects that challenge important social issues.
Any final thoughts for the Young Guns community?
I'm honored to be part of the class of Young Guns 17. Thank you!
WORDS FROM THE JURY
"Alva Skog’s world is populated by characters with large hands and even bigger feet. Small heads sit atop giant shoulders. Facial features are set against skin-tones ranging from sienna to coral to peach. You haven't seen a person drawn like this before, and that’s the point. Alva is at the forefront of a generation that reflects its time by depicting a world that doesn't hew to conventional representations of bodies, ethnicity, and gender. In place of stereotypes, they propose a world full of color and ecstatic in its possibilities."
Young Guns 5 Winner
"Alva Skog doesn’t fear the page. They stretch it, extend it, make the characters move around its space as there were no boundaries whatsoever. They’re elastic to the point that looking at their illustrations may make you seasick. The power of their work is this constant undulating movement and unapologetic boldness. The colors are the ones of a sunny day in Scandinavia, sunny side up eggs and a bouquet of red poppies on the window."
Young Guns 9 Winner
The Young Guns 17 Ceremony & Party takes place on Thursday, November 20 in New York City.