Owe Gustafson

A Day’s March is introducing a playful splash collection for the summer together with the legendary Swedish artist, illustrator and author Owe Gustafson. For creative directors Stefan Pagréus and Pelle Lundquist this is a very personal project, since Owe used to be their teacher when studying at Berghs School of Communication in the late 90’s. Stefan and Pelle are longtime fans of Owe’s work and the TV-show ”Fem myror är fler än fem elefanter”, in which Owe did all the illustrations, had a big impact on their childhood (like for most Swedes born in the 70’s or 80’s). Today Owe is 78 years old and still going strong.

 

 

HI OWE GUSTAFSON!

Tell us how the world’s perhaps most famous pink elephant came about?
I was asked by my old pals Lasse Åberg and Ardy Strüwer — who originally were going to be the main characters of the show — if I wanted to create the animations. Lasse and Ardy were replaced by Magnus, Brasse and Eva, but I remained onboard. The numbers and letters were there, but apart from that I was free to do whatever I wanted.

What does elephants represent to you?
The elephant has stalked me for 45 years, for better and for worse (mostly for the better). From time to time it has been an encumbrance, but today I am only proud.

Tell us about your working process!
To me all creative processes are the same, it’s all created in my head, the execution is just craft.

Today most people would agree that “Fem Myror…” is an exemplary children’s program, but that was not always the case, right?
Internally on SVT (Swedish public TV) there were those who opposed the program. It was expensive to produce because of all the sketches, décor, music and animation. You got to remember that this was the 70’s and everything was very left orientated, some thought the show was “commercializing” tv.

Your work extends over more than 50 years. How has your profession changed in that time?
Computers!

What are some of your career highlights?
I had a goal early on — I wanted to exhibit my work in Paris, New York and Tokyo. The goal is accomplished!

What’s your next project?
I don’t know much about the next project. I draw, make graphics and write books. Perhaps a new exhibition.

 

 

Owe Gustafson, born in 1940, has been an active artist, illustrator, graphic designer and writer for more than 50 years. He graduated from Konstfack in Stockholm in 1964 and from Konsthögskolan’s graphic program in 1970.
Owe Gustafson has had a wide number of exhibitions both at home and abroad, including Paris, New York and Tokyo. He has writ-ten some fifteen books and illustra-ted more than ten films, including his work with legendary Swedish children’s program ”Fem myror är fler än fyra elefanter”.