Masai Stories — Veronica Hodges
Masai is continuously inspired by women and art — by creativity, and the beauty of a life lived. This is what drew us to the organic, layered artworks of Danish artist Birgitte Lund, whose aesthetics embody the unexpected in femininity. Her artistry is painted, sprayed, or poured onto her chosen material brings something very special to our collection.
"I like the idea that the scarf I have painted will look different on different women, and that the painting on the scarf allows individual women to create their own story. This means every woman gets to create her own personal look, and also gives the artwork new life."
My collaboration with Masai
I was contacted by Lene Louderback, Masai's creative director, who wanted me to design some scarves based on my paintings. Masai then picked four unique works to feature on two long wool scarves and a square silk scarf. The four works represent the different artistic concepts that I work with. They consist of paintings, photographs, prints, and drawings. The works we have chosen for the collection have been painted in multiple expressive layers. They have a very progressive look, where some elements have been poured on, some painted on, and some sprayed on. Parts of it have been calligraphed, and the colors I have used are very bold and sensual.
What inspires Birgitte
"Beauty in itself isn't interesting because it needs something to challenge it. There has to be something unsettling and frightening about it, because you need a balance between beauty and the immediate, and the more complex, the dark, the deep and the slightly dangerous. Beauty needs to be challenged and contrasted."
The first picture...
I bought my first picture when I was a student. I was cycling down Gammel Kongevej when I saw this picture, and I thought to myself, I have to have this! I thought it would be really expensive and was too scared to even go inside to ask how much it cost. I did it anyway, and I was told it costs 30,000 kroner (approximately 3.5K USD). I left the shop thinking that I would never be able to afford it. But I had a friend who had just inherited some money from her father, and she ended up lending me the money. It took me 6 years to pay that painting off. I don't collect pictures for their value; I collect them because they speak to me. I experience a sort of affinity with the paintings and the women. It's almost like they're coming home with me, that we're together now. That I have my girlfriends around me. Maybe all these women are just different sides of myself.
The art of creating...
How do you become good at cutting paper? I actually believe that it is a tool. I believe that being able to fashion something from a thought inside your head is a tool. You work at it until what you have created with your hands is exactly the same as what's in your head - or better. It's probably got something to do with whether you're good at visualizing what you see and turning it into something physical. Can you materialize your thoughts? Isn't that what the creative process really is? It's a muscle you have to train, just like anything else, I guess.
Being an artist and a woman...
As a female artist in today's world, I think it's important to have support from a partner or someone who believes in you. I think it was much harder in the past when society expected you to have a lot of children very quickly, and there was a high mortality rate. The mother was often left with the sole responsibility of bringing up the family. When I study women who have been allowed the time to paint, I realize that they've had a man to support them. They've been allowed to sit and paint for 12 hours a day, even if their kids were screaming in the other room. Some of them have partners who are also artists and so have understood the situation from an artist's point of view. I think this is a condition you need for perfecting yourself. It's one thing to paint endless portraits, but being good at it, like many of the women I'm interested in, well, you need time for that.
I always love seeing the materials. When I touch something, there's a form of resonance. I get excited, I want to touch it and do something with it - to reinterpret it. I believe it's essential to apply this approach to life. If you don't see the opportunities before you, then the world starts closing down. Because creativity lies in things changing and is life-changing.