How do you stay creative?

Today I am excited to share an interview with my friend and colleague artist Gunn Tjensvold!   We will discover how she stays creative as a professional artist and she will share with us her favorite tips. 

But, before we hear what she has to say, let me give you a little background. Gunn´s art story started early, she remembers drawing ever since the moment she picked up a pencil. So it was natural for the young Gunn to start her creative journey already as a young girl, focusing on studying and combining graphic design when she went to high school. And for some years has worked for an advertising company where she did drawings and illustrations.

In 2002 Gunn received her Masters in Fine Arts (MFA)  in Ceramics. And since her MFA she has shown her work in galleries and museums in Europe, the USA, Korea, and China. She has received several grants for her work. She works in all mediums but tends to focus on photographs, ceramics, and textiles.  Gun takes a conceptual approach to her work, so the idea comes before the media.


Magny: Gunn, you have always been very creative and your work is very varied, can you tell us where you find your inspiration?

Gunn: I get inspiration from lots of places, for example from things I find in flea markets, in nature and what I read on blogs. My favorite blogs to follow are on interior design, music, and the garden.



Drawing in the garden, flower inspiration,

Magny: How do you stay creative?

Gunn: Imperfection is a keyword. I look for things that are not perfect or look rather weird or even broken.  Normality is everywhere, and for me, it feels like a treasure to find something special.  One example is my collection of about 40 four-leaved clovers, which has taken me 7 years to find.

I also love to go to parks and botanical gardens. trees, shrubs, and flowers are so inspiring In my garden I grow herbs, vegetables, tulips, Lamprocapnos spectabilis, daffodils, and flowers that are seldom found.


watercolour drawing in the garden
Painting flowers in the garden

Flower painting . watercolour

art work

Magny: One question which will be of interest to all creative people, is how do you start a new project?

Gunn: I find ideas in all sorts of strange places.  I just mentioned my collection of four-leaved clovers. They are “imperfect” and are not easy to find. I know that they will be part of a project some day, but for the moment I have no idea what do with them, but I just know it will turn into art.  Another example is the shopping lists I found discarded in the supermarkets and shops.  I was working in a shop some years and had to pick up notes dropped on the floor, at one point  I started to read them and found them funny.  when comparing them I found them surprising similarities. For example, the most common things on the lists included milk, pizza, newspaper, bread, and coffee.  Another interesting thing I found in the lists is that people had invented their own words, like “crying cloth” and I don´t really know what they meant by that. I also found some shopping lists which were poetic and beautiful. All of these notes became the subject of a recent exhibition I had. Where I embroidered some of the items from the lists onto a dinner table cloth. They were exact copies just larger. In the gallery, I show my embroideries on the floor.

Magny: All artists go through periods where it is hard to get new ideas. What do you do when you have a creative block?

Gunn: I accept that there are times when I have no inspiration. I see it as a part of creativity. At these times I start to collect something that triggers my curiosity for the odd and unusual, like junk.  It can take years to come up with a new big project.

Magny: Do you have an inner critic?

Gunn: I know that are always people that don’t like my work. That is normal and I accept it. But as a child, I was given very positive feedback for my drawings and all my creative work. That gave me confident in myself so now I listen to my inner voice and trust it.

Magny: So now I want you to reveal some secrets for our readers. Tell us your tips on how to be creative?

Gunn: Start with what makes you feel positive and gives you the most joy. Try out a few different techniques, like drawing, painting, and ceramics. Then,  take a look back on the different projects and pick the one that gave you the most energy and focus only on this for some time. This will make you feel comfortable and free.

Magny:  Gunn, thank you for sharing with us today. I know that people will get new ideas from what you told us.

Gunn:  Thank you Magny. It was fun to do this interview together.


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