Finding like-minded souls is a vital part of the creative process. I have admired Sally Dige Jorgensen's solo music project and visual work for some time now. Sally has been a good friend and co-conspirator over the past few years and it's great to catch up with her again.
This long-overdue interview is published just in time for a joint mixed-media exhibition by Sally and her sister Johannah. The exhibition features Johannah's photographs documenting the Danish and Canadian underground music scene as well as original collages by Sally. The Jorgensen & Jorgensen exhibition will be at KW3, Krausesvej 3, Østerbro in Copenhagen on November 6th 2014 from 6PM-12:30AM.
How are you doing in Berlin?
Berlin is great (of course!). I decided to move here after first visiting in 2012. I was doing a tour with my music solo project, Sally Dige, and of all the cities I visited this was just the right one for me! After the tour I returned to Canada to finish my studies. I moved here immediately after completing my studies and don't regret it!
I really love Berlin. The first time I went there was the summer of 1993, a few years after the fall of the wall. It was a crazy time and life-changing for me. Do you enjoy the art scene there?
I have to admit that I am not involved in the Berlin art scene as much as I should, and would like to be. Sometimes I get pretty lost in my own (apartment) world; working on projects. It can get to the point where I hardly go out, and can get a bit cut-off from civilization. Still! I am always trying to push myself to get more involved in things and see all that is happening in this big city.
You are someone who works across a range of media. Is that something you enjoy?
I have always worked across the board in terms of creative mediums. Somehow it's what keeps things fresh when you take a break from one medium to work in another for some time. Sometimes I wish that I could be more singular and just focus on one thing. Maybe then I could be more focused in my creative direction and be a master in one field, but I am so curious and fascinated with so many things, especially creative mediums and I love learning new things.
Do you suppose you'll continue working like that in the future?
I can't imagine ever, that in the future I will be working with just one thing creative medium. That's like for me, saying that I will only be cooking with one ingredient in the future, I love food! I love art! I love variety! And I want to taste new things as well!
Do you find the world of design restricting?
I found this to be more true in institutional environments: schools, agencies (from my experience). In these places design can sometimes feel so dry and bland. When I was in university, the most insulting thing you could say to an industrial design student was that his or her project felt "more like a communication design project, (or worse) an art project!" and then you could really upset some art students by saying that their painting felt more like a graphic poster. I never got it. I always loved when industrial design products resembled artworks and when artworks had design elements in them. I never got why integration of these languages couldn't be more utilized and celebrated. I became interested in industrial design because of the art-like nature of the Memphis Group design or early 80s Italian product design. I remember I was always getting everything wrong in university. When I was in the painting class, I would be doing graphic-like poster paintings that the teacher said looked more like a silk-screen print than a painting, and when I was in the design class I would be making art music videos and then when I was in the drawing class I would be working on design projects. For me a design lecture would inspire a film, or a painting class would inspire a poster. Unfortunately it can be challenging to convince authorities in these institutions to see things how you saw them.
When you first got in touch with me, you wanted to ask advice about graphic design.
I was in university when I contacted you and was a little tired by the university mantra that is so nailed into our heads about what is "good design" and what design IS and what it ISN'T (i.e art projects) and that's when I came across the post on your philosophy of design and it was such a well written piece that recited verbatim how I related to art and design. It was comforting to know there were others who also saw things as I did as I felt like the odd-one out in my school. It's a really inspiring paragraph for these occasional odd students that don't quite fit the conventional mould. I think you should repost it, maybe it will uplift and inspire another Sally (laughs).
Ha ha, that post still exists and is some sort of mantra for me. I always thought that art school equalled freedom of thought, but it can be completely set in it's ways unfortunately. Do you have a regular working environment such as a studio where you work these days?
I always work at home. I never had a real studio and because of it, I am used to working in really really small spaces. I never liked working at school, or work studios or anything like that. I like to be alone when I work. I don't like people around me seeing what I am doing, when I am still in the stage of trying to figure out what the hell I am doing haha. Sometimes I work in the kitchen, or the living room, or the bedroom, or in the bath (drawings, lyrics or anything non-electrical, haha) just anywhere in the apartment.
Yeah, I'm the same! You have an exhibition with your sister coming up in Copenhagen in November. How did that come about and is it something you’re looking forward to?
My sister, Johannah, has been photographing the underground music scene in Denmark and Canada for years now and it was just time that she did an exhibition to showcase her photographs. We did it in Copenhagen not only because that is where she lives but that is where her focus has been for the past few years: the Danish underground scene.
We tend to do a lot of projects together, so to put on an exhibition event was something interesting we could do together and showcase different mediums in one room: photography, illustration and music performance (she also plays in my live Sally Dige act). I am very excited about it!
Johannah’s photographs have a real energy to them and don't seem to be tied to a particular place or time. What are your feelings about the music scene in Demark and Canada?
For sure both scenes are small. I cannot tell which one is smaller (probably Denmark). The music scene in Canada seemed very exciting from 2005 to 2009. First there was a big wave of weird-art-synth-pop stuff coming out of Montreal (where every artist and musician in Vancouver moved to if they were serious about their career) and then there was this underground scene in Vancouver with interesting shows at such places like the Emergency Room.
What is your relationship like with your sister?
The relationship with my sister is really good. A healthy relationship. Haha.
What inspires you and how does it affect your work?
So many things inspire me. Wow! I used to always say in past interviews that "weird art films" were my inspiration, and "TV commercials" (Interesting TV commercials were like short films. It was interesting to see how an introduction, a rising action, a climax then a denouement could all happen in 30 seconds). I would say it is inspiring when you see something really bad or someone doing something in a professional setting with 'amateur' work. You see that and then you think, "If they can do that, then so can I." It's a very punk attitude and motto but I think it will always be relevant.
Which other artists do you admire?
Is drawing your first love?
I still have not figured out what my first creative love is, perhaps music, or performing? I don't know, it changes all the time!
The drawings in the Jorgensen & Jorgensen exhibition are minimalistic charcoal drawings pieced together in the style of a collage. It was a process of doing sets of charcoal drawings (using simple contour lines and patterns), then cutting out certain elements from these drawings; I then collaged them differently in each final drawing. The idea around this process was to see how many different things I could create out of a simple and minimal palette. The drawings thus have a continuity that flows through them all, but also have something different with each piece.
What is Cult Club?
Cult Club is the new music-side-project with me and my boyfriend Laslo Antal. It's an electronic-pop act.
What are you currently obsessed with?
I think I have watched everything on Joan Rivers. I love her stand-up work.
You can find more information about Sally's visual work HERE
Her new music project Cult Club can also be found HERE
Sally's debut album Hard To Please is available on Night School Records HERE