Capturing Berlin’s Nightlife, Conversations and Queer Struggles

Can you start off by telling our readers a little bit about yourself? 

My name is Josefine Aspvik, 25 from Finland but I have been living in Berlin for the past 6 years. I moved to Berlin in 2015 for my studies in Illustration design. I have also recently worked a lot with jewellery and graphic design – which is another field of interest that I wanted to explore.

How long have you been doing illustration? 

I started making comics about the Berlin nightlife scene when I first discovered it in 2015. Since then I’ve kept drawing every day and developing my characters to what it is today.

Square digital illustration featuring one human with brown skin and a pink, red and gold patterned suit on. They wear a pastel pink top with a heart on it and the word “queer” written across it. They have no hair, red lipstick and gold jewellery. They are posing with their left knee bent up and their left elbow resting on it, their hand to their face. On the right handside are three speech bubbles. The first says: “Hello there.” The second bubble says: “yet again I am here to tell you to stop assuming and start asking.”. The third and final speech bubble reads: “respectfully of course”.

Our latest issue of the magazine is about voice, how do you use your voice in your art?

My comics are definitely a lot more political today than what they used to be. I use my voice through the conversations of my characters, most of these conversations hold an important message that I want to convey.

What do you want people to take away from your work? 

I want people to be able to understand the differences we have when it comes to beauty and gender expression; and that we are all valid no matter how we choose to express ourselves. 

I want them to take a way more knowledge about what it’s like to have a mental health illness and the struggles that a lot of queer people and minorities face in todays society.

Square digital illustration featuring two human figures from the chest upwards. The human character on the left has brown skin, a little black and lilac hair curls only on the top of their head. They wear gold hoop earrings and face piercing jewellery. They have a turtleneck long sleeve top on with lime pale green, light blue grey and white with gold details. Their top reads: “we will not be blamed”. The second human character to the right has no hair, large gold hoop earrings and face jewellery. They wear a pink sleeveless top with gold edge detail and the text also reads: “ we will not be blamed”. They have tattoos on their arms and slight underarm hair peeking out from their top.

We loved your interview on the Curated By Girls site. In that you said stand for “normalizing unconventional beauty as well as mental health issues”. How have you been able to do that in your work?

I think it’s a process, but I’d love to be able to achieve that!

Which other artists are doing similar things, in terms of representing unconventional beauty and mental health issues, and inspire you? 

I have a lot of people in mind who inspire me, but I think at the moment I really look up to this stunning human called Elle (@uggiebbyboy).  They really represent unconventional beauty to the fullest. I also really like Matt Bernstein and Polly Nor.

Square digital illustration featuring two human figures from the chest upwards. The human character on the left has white skin, slight pastel pink hair on the top of their head. They wear lots of gold jewellery, including big gold hoops from their ears and small hoops across their eyebrows. They are wearing a pink jacket with an abstract red and gold heart pattern on. The second human character on the right, has pastel pink and burgundy circle hair on the top and down the neck. They also have gold jewellery and hoops in their ears and on their face. They have gold spikes coming out of their lips and on their choker style necklace. They wear a multi shade of pink jacket with gold hoop detail. Their heads are slightly leaning in to touch together.

Any exciting collaborations coming up?

At the moment no collaborations in sight, but hopefully when things open up I’ll be able to showcase my art through exhibitions and work on my collabs with interesting peeps!

Keep your eyes peeled for more work from Josefine, I for one can’t wait to see what they come up with next and hopefully there are some exciting collaborations to come. To check out more of their work head over to insta. 

Josefine Aspvik

She / They | Instagram

Interviewed by Prishant K Jutlla

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