Interview with Ivana Kozlai Lauridsen for Toi Art Gallery

October 24, 2020

Interview with Ivana Kozlai Lauridsen for Toi Art Gallery

Ivana Kozlai Lauridsen, the illustrator behind Kozlau Atelier, is originally from Slovakia and has been living in Denmark for many years. 

She creates a diverse range of illustrations that carry along a personal story often with a hint of nostalgia.  She finds her inspiration from traveling and from daily moments that sink deep into her memory. Her  focus is on finding simple patterns and color schemes that evoke calmness and peacefulness. She likes to elevate ordinary things into minimal aesthetics.

Embraced by Nature. Limited edition print

1. Where did you grow up? How was your childhood like?

I grew up in Slovakia to parents with dreams and high ambitions. Our home was filled with architecture magazines and designs, sketches and a lot of creativity and sports. I feel I had a very privileged childhood being very active, traveling and seeing the world with my parents, studying abroad and being a little odd back in my town. I also vividly remember spending holidays at my grandparent’s place and going through their photo albums over and over again. I was drawn to the world that once was, imagining I could go back in time to see my relatives' lives before I was born.

ivana toi art gallery prints

2. When did you start drawing?

I can’t even recall the moment I started drawing, I feel I always drew and I drew everything I could imagine. I stopped drawing for few years at high school but picked up on it again when I was not entirely in terms with what I chose to study at the Uni.

In the Shadow. Limited edition print.

3. How is your work routine like?

When I come to my office/studio I normally have a clear idea of what and how I want to draw and start on that straight away. I try not to look at emails or social media before noon in order to keep and maintain a clean mind and vision for what I am to draw. At noon, I usually exercise before I have lunch and then read and reply to emails. There are some days of the week where I spend my afternoons running to the post office, printing studio or other shops. I spend my evenings collecting ideas, researching my topics and gathering inspiration.

Ivana Kozlai toi art gallery

ivana kozlai toi art gallery

4. You describe your illustrations as “carrying a personal story and a pinch of nostalgia”, your work depicts characters, often women, alone in nature, somewhat observing or just present in the moment. Can you tell us more about this?

My collection of Women in Nature is mainly influenced by my moving abroad. My emotions were transformed into women, my thoughts into their depictions. They represent a mixture of feelings from nostalgia of what once was back home in Slovakia, to feeling free and lost at the same time, the ability and sometimes disability coping with different habits and culture, and joy of experiencing something new, learning and growing as a person. Nature gave me solace and provided space to think, reconnect and rebuild myself.

Slow Life. Limited edition print.

ivana kozlai toi art gallery

5. How do you work with surface pattern? What is your approach to this form of aesthetics?

I get embraced with a complete satisfying feeling when I see my patterns on an actual product. I had the opportunity to collaborate with some brands and have even done a personal project that might come into fruition in the near future. I have a degree in Interior Design and an eternal love for home accessories. I like the process of designing a pattern and choosing the right colors. I prefer simple and clean motifs, usually rather minimal.

My botanical garden. Limited edition print.

6. Your color palette is soothing, calm, and close to nature. How do you choose your colors?

This is possibly the most daunting aspect of illustrating. It is so important to choose just the right colors for what you want to depict and what feeling you want to set in the illustration. I generally like subtle colors, sometimes with tendencies to slip into black-white mode but generally speaking, I prefer a palette that compliments what I try to draw and emphasizes the calm and relaxed vibration.

7. Where is home?

Home is where the family is, no question about that ;)

8. What are you reading?

I read a lot of Mid-century Architecture books, I get intrigued by books with a lot of visual material. The latest books that made it onto my night table are ‘The sun and her flowers’ by Rupi Kaur and ‘The art of simple living’ by Shunmyo Masuno.

9. What artists influenced your work?

There are many wonderful artists that shape the way I look at illustration. One of the first and possibly the most inspirational artists for me is Oamul, Ohkii studio and Mengju. Their works are full of character and personality with a very distinctive style. I never get tired of their work.

10. Is there any “crazy project” you would like to try in the future?

There is this ‘crazy project’ of publishing a series of my illustration books and making a studio with home accessories designed by me ;)



by Karina Miller

Explore Ivana's captivating artworks here

If you enjoy this interview, checkout our Interview with Malin Gyllensvaan

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