Today we introduce the work and thoughts of Fiona Krüger, this interview talks with Fiona about; her work, her first creative influences, her fine art background and any advice for students hoping to follow a similar career path.
Who is Fiona Krüger?
A designer with a fine art background. A proud Scot, and someone with a fascination for different cultures and countries. A bit of an introvert.
What were your first influences in your creative work?
I did my BA in Sculpture, so my first influences have nothing to do with design! They were (and still are) Rebecca Horn, Matthew Barney’s Cremaster series (not for the films, but for the objects and costumes he created for them and the subsequent photographs), designer Hussein Chalayan (the best exhibition I’ve ever been to was his at the Design museum in London a few years ago), and Alexander McQueen. Now my influences are also these but include cultural influences from the places I’ve lived, like all the crafts from South Africa, Dia de Los muertos from Mexico, the amazonian tribes from Brazil…
What route did you take from education and school to where you are today?
I grew up in a tiny village in the Alsace region of France from the age of 3-10, and then moved to Mexico City and Sao Paulo Brazil before moving back to Scotland. So my schooling was quite a mix, and when living in Latin America I was very lucky to go to excellent schools. Back in Scotland my art teacher was brilliant and encouraged me a lot, so I went to Edinburgh College of Art to study Sculpture. After 4 years at ECA I needed a break and moved to Johannesburg South Africa where I lived and worked for 3 years. I worked in an Art gallery and then a lighting design company, so still creative industries, but my main goal was to get out of the UK, experience another culture, and get some real life experience.
I was terrified of staying in the UK and living a sort of extended version of my student years once I graduated. I always knew I wanted to do a masters. I like being in an academic environment and learning in general, so looked for something to do as an MA that made sense and could also result in me working at a university on a part-time basis (something I’ve always wanted to do). I then had to chose between doing my MA in Sculpture back at ECA or something different which was the MAS LUX at ECAL in Switzerland. Fortunately I got accepted at ECAL where I did the MAS LUX, and was then offered a position as a teaching assistant on the course – so I guess that was the right choice to make!
What has been your favourite project? Which has been your biggest success?
I have a couple of favourite projects. The watch is definitely one because before going to ECAL I had never worked on a 3D programme, had no experience of anything to do with design, so for me it was a huge achievement to design and create something like that which was very personal, worked, and people liked so much. And it was also the toughest project as I had no time, no money and a lot of people telling me it wouldn’t be possible…So that would be my favourite and my biggest success so far. I am also very fond of the last art project I did whilst in South Africa. It took a lot of time to make and photograph the pieces, but it was very rewarding. My fine art work is very different to my design work, but in a way I think that this is what allows me to do interesting things in design as I think about a design problem or concept in a more artistic way.
What advice would you offer students hoping to follow a similar career path?
I would say be very clear about what you want to do and why. There’s nothing worse than doing a Masters or a Bachelors course because you don’t know what else to do. So having a direction is very important. I’m also a big advocate for design that shows a point of view or a personality. I love pieces that you can tell have been made or designed by someone specific, rather than another generic clean-lines table or chair or couch. And to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with clean lines! It’s just more interesting if you can show your personality, I think. And use your common sense. I’m not an expert of anything by any means, but a lot of problems or issues can be resolved by just using your common sense, and asking the right people the right questions!
What do you do to relax away from work?
My husband is great for that, he pokes fun at me quite a lot to stop me from taking myself too seriously! Otherwise I love music and going to concerts, watching films cooking and later swimming. The usual stuff! But there’s nothing better than having dinner and a good laugh with a group of friends!
What music/films/books do you enjoy in your free time?
The last book I read was “I wonder” by Marian Bantjes…it was amazing and very good for my soul! Books with a lot of pictures are always good! But that’s because I’m a visual person…otherwise I do love a trashy romance novel. Embarrassing but true! I also like a lot of films so will watch anything that makes me think. I’m not big on Hollywood films with lots of special effects and no decent plot. I’m also a real fan of documentaries…the last one I loved was a channel 4 one with Grayson Perry called “All in good taste”. It was great, really engaged my brain which I appreciate. And music-wise I listen to anything, it just has to be up-beat. Nothing to sad or melancholic sounding. My little brother send me music, he’s a real music buff and has got a great ear for it.
Who are your favourite people to follow on twitter?
I’ve tried twitter, but it’s just not my thing! Facebook I’m on, but only because with moving around so much it’s the easiest way to keep in touch with people! But twitter stresses me out!