Silvie Sebastian is a 31 years old research technician in a Dutch hematology laboratory. In her free time she likes to be a little more creative. She likes drawing, singing, playing guitar, etc. She had a hard time choosing between a creative study and a scientific study. She still not sure if she made the right decision…
ROK had a little chat with Silvie.
How did you get in touch with Iceland and its music?
The first time I got in touch with Iceland and Icelandic music is when I heard Sigur Rós for the first time, around 2001. I heard the “Ágætis Byrjun” album and it really blew me away. A few years later I discovered múm through the MySpace of Sigur Rós and that’s when it all really started. I started discovering more and more Icelandic bands. And through their music videos I also found out that besides the very interesting music, they had quite an amazing landscape in Iceland.
When did you travel the first time to ‘Ultima Thule’?
I was still a student when Iceland started to draw my attention, so it was too expensive for me to go there at that point. After school I couldn’t really find anyone who wanted to join me on a not-so-sunny summer holiday. I was looking into voluntary work in Iceland and everything, but it just didn’t happen. Finally, in 2011 I convinced someone! It really felt like coming home and I’ve visited Iceland 2-3 times a year ever since.
Do you have a favorite spot on the island?
I really love being in Reykjavík. It’s such a creative city. I love how it feels like a little town instead of a big city, but it still has everything you need. It also feels like they don’t really care about what’s ‘main stream’ in the rest of the world. I like that independent feel. There are so many nice vegetarian/health food restaurants and lovely coffee places. And of course I love the swimming pools too.
Outside the capital city I really like the whole area around Þórsmörk, Landmannalaugar and Fimmvörðuháls. The colors of the mountains are spectacular and the hiking possibilities are endless.
When did you go the first time to the Iceland Airwaves festival?
The first time I went to Iceland Airwaves was in 2013. I already wanted to go for a long time, but (again) couldn’t find anyone who wanted to join me and see all these ‘unknown’ bands. When I went to a Sin Fang show in the spring of 2013, I had a short chat with Sindri afterwards. He gave me the advice to just go on my own; I would meet loads of people and it would be fun. I immediately booked
a ticket and it turned out he was right! Of course I returned again in 2014 and the 2015 ticket is already booked!
Could you mention some of your all time favorite artists?
My favorite Icelandic artists are Sin Fang, múm, Sóley, Ólafur Arnalds and Sigur Rós. It’s hard to explain why I love Icelandic music so much. I think Icelandic musicians just do whatever they feel like doing, and don’t really care what the rest of the world thinks. That probably results in really creative, boundary breaking and unique sounds.
And your favorite album and song is…?
My favorite album probably is múm’s “Loksins Erum Við Engin”. My favorite song by múm is actually not on this album; it’s “Dancing Behind My Eyelids”. I really like Sin Fang’s “Clangour” album too,
especially the song “Lies”. Can’t really choose, there is too much good Icelandic music!
How do you select the artists which you are going to draw?
Sometimes I draw them because I’ve been listening to their album a lot in that period. Other times I just happen to bump into an incredible picture that I get really excited about. I like to use photo’s that show them as a musician, and I like weird/crazy photos.
Can you explain your way of working?
I’ve never been to art school, so actually I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. During the drawings I really bump into difficulties sometimes. How do I draw a beard? How do I draw hairy arms? How do I make the skin look more realistic? I watch tutorials and I’m still learning a lot of techniques. I’m not satisfied about every drawing that’s on my page, but that’s okay. It’s a learning curve!
I only use pencils, the whole range from 7B to 8H. And I use stumps a lot to blend everything. Recently I discovered that I can get a lot more details in my drawings with mechanical pencils of 0.3 and 0.5mm.
How do the musicians react when they see your work?
I don’t always get a reaction from the Icelandic artists. I’m a bit too shy to really talk to them about it anyway. But when they do react on it, they are always nice (if they mean it or not haha).
I’m thinking about drawing Jófriður of Samaris/Pascal Pinon/Gangly fame. Or one of the members of Árstiðir. I did a drawing of Jónsi in the past, but now I don’t like that one anymore. I might redo that drawing one day too. Just keep checking
Can you tell us more about the making of the drawing of Ólafur Arnalds?
I’ve been drawing Ólafur Arnalds because he was going to give a show in The Netherlands soon.
Unfortunately I didn’t finish the drawing before the concert, which was last week (15/02/15). The
tour he is doing right now is the “Ólafur Arnalds plays Broadchurch” tour. I didn’t listen to the Broadchurch soundtrack yet on purpose, because sometimes I want that feeling of seeing an artist for the first time again (even though this was the 5th time). And it worked: the Broadchurch songs absolutely blew me away. One moment I had goose bumps, the other moment tears in my eyes, the other moment I was smiling dreamily with my eyes closed. Ólafur was playing two pianos that night, which was really nice to hear. He was guided by a string quartet, horn players, a drums/synthesizer player and lovely vocals by Arnór Dan of Agent Fresco fame. They all did a wonderfull job in creating a very special experience. I can’t wait to see him play again!
It’s worth to mention that the original photo of Ólafur was taken by Héðinn Eiríksson and will be used as the album cover of Óli’s new album entitled ‘The Chopin Project’.
Silvie has found a nice balance between her job and her creativity by doing these dreamy and detailed drawings. We from ROK can’t wait to see her next drawing.
Follow Silvie’s Sketchbook on
http://facebook.com/silviesebastiansketchbook and http://silviesebastian.tumblr.com
– Wim Van Hooste