Beetle and Flor specialize in helping under-served communities that depend on making and selling crafts as a livelihood. Our aim is to help their designs flourish, whether it be by spicing up traditional creations with a modern twist, or developing a strong visual identity giving the artisans an edge in the global market.
Wow what a wonderful mission statement!
The “North American Wildlife” series, which I have been working on over the past year, is mainly influenced from my work at the natural history museum as a science illustrator. Its quite satisfying having time to fully understand the structure of something though both visual and tactile observation-having enough time to draw and look and draw and look over and over again until you have processed something of dimension into a line drawing that needs to convey the shape and curvature of its original counterpart. After a while however, I just wanted to recreate these objects into 3-d through clay, and see how close to the real thing I could get.
A lot of my other work is influenced by socio-economic or environmental issues, especially in “developing” countries: I’d like to think that design is something that everyone can benefit from, aesthetically and usefully from a consumers perspective, economically, culturally and “environmentally” from a producers or makers perspective. This is probably illustrated best by the example of Kallari, a coalition of artisans in the Ecuadorian Rainforest who started out weaving baskets from abundant weeds and selling them in the west (they now make chocolate). Basket weaving was a tradition long gone by the influx of foreigners to that region, scouting out oil, and bringing in cheap plastic counterparts to these baskets. However, Judy Logback, a passionate young lady revived this lost weaving tradition and helped bring back a way for this community to make a decent living, without jeopardizing their beloved rainforest.
The skulls have become a great (and surprising!) hobby that have supported some of the projects I have worked on in places such as Nepal and northern India in the Tibetan refugee community, working with organizations and small artisan coalitions in design aspects such as branding and product development. Beetle and Flor also make our own line of goods, commissioning these very artisans/orgs we have worked with in the past.
I love my school friend Natalia Ortega’s stuffs-probably because she so deliciously mixes local materials such as clay and basket weaving so well together! But I’m always scouting out new stuff on the web and I recently came across Ann Woods apt on design sponge, and some luscious looking boats hanging from her apartment ceiling. I’d love to have one of those…
Otherwise my major influences tend to be people like Judy Logback, Jeffery Sachs, Edward O. Wilson and Jane Jacobs who all were and are people with inspiring minds (and whom I’d love to do a project with).
Baked salmon with a white wine cream sauce, potatoes and greens. I’m (a Norwegian) vegetarian, but will eat that dish in a flash!
I make quick decisions on the best way to cut up a skull, based on limitations of ceramic mold making. All pieces are further sculpted by hand, adding plasteline and getting rid of major undercuts, as well as clogging nerve openings and suture cracks. I then start making the molds, moving quickly to avoid rot and fungus to the skull (fowl smelling!)
“Everything I know about business I learned at McDonalds”–it’s by my uncle Paul, so I’m naturally obligated to read!–and a bunch of national geographics. I’m also desperately trying to get though Jeffery Sachs book “The end of poverty”.
Seems to be a tie between fox and wolf.