Classified both an illustrator and multimedia designer, Copenhagen-based Stine Reintoft has chosen to devote her work to illustration, as she says that is her passion. She explores many mediums and techniques in her work, using everything from collage to watercolour, and renders them both by hand and digitally. Above all she loves fashion illustration, and she takes a special interest in the ever-present question of ethics and sustainability in the fashion industry. Stine believes that every human is pulled to drawings and feels that they can convey more warmth than a fashion photograph.
What was it that drew you to the world of fashion?
I have always loved clothes, fashion, beauty, the catwalk models, and the movement of the clothes. For many years I wanted to be a fashion designer, but I lacked the patience for sewing the clothes, and found out that I enjoyed drawing them more. I have always followed fashion trends and buy at least four to five fashion magazines a month – even when I was studying. So I have always felt the fashion world was my right element, but I waited to enter it until I was ready.
When did you realize that you wanted to be an illustrator?
Since I was a child I knew that I wanted to be an illustrator. My grandfather Poul Kastrup was an artist and started teaching me from the age of two to paint and draw. I was practically born with a brush in my hand. I have always relied on my large imaginative universe and felt I had to get it down on paper; I simply had to. I was lucky that I had the talent for it and my family has always supported me.
What is your favorite medium to work with?
I always enjoy using ink and watercolors, and I like editing the illustrations on the computer. My ambition is to work for all the international magazines.
There has been talk about fashion illustration being a dying art form; why do you feel it is important to keep it alive?
A few years ago, it seemed fashion illustrations were disappearing from the magazines, but it may have been related to the economic crisis. Now I see them coming back slowly. I think an illustration can express more and also different things than a photograph. An illustration often leaves a part to the imagination and it can be more exaggerated or extreme. Also, I think illustrations symbolize a certain beauty or style that a woman is looking for. An illustration can show exactly that dream, and the model does not have to be unnaturally skinny. Personally, my illustrations have attracted quite a lot of interest and ultimately – as it holds a long tradition – I think fashion illustration will always be part of the medias.
What is it about illustration that keeps you engaged?
I have been drawing since I was a little girl and I cannot imagine not drawing, to be without the contemplation and joy it gives me. Drawing allows me to mirror reality according to me – my dreams, hopes, and possibilities that come from inside. Of course, I am inspired by life and my experience, but it is a drive from within myself that creates my work.
What do you think it is about illustration that appeals to people?
Illustration is an art form, and I think an illustration can say a lot of things. It can create a universe and a unique style. Whereas a photograph is relatively limited by reality, only the imagination limits an illustration.
Being that you are based in Copenhagen, describe the art scene in Denmark.
I love the classical Royal ballet at the Royal Theatre. The movement of dancing inspires me a lot. Currently, the whole of Denmark is following closely the TV series Borgen, written around a female Danish Prime Minister and the political world in Denmark. I also try to go to as many exhibitions as possible. Recently, works of Toulouse Lautrec that were exhibited at The National Gallery of Denmark impressed me.
I listen a lot to Mads Langer, an excellent young Danish musician and songwriter, and I am a long-time fan of Danish fashion designer Mads Nørgaard. The last couple of years I have been attending fashion shows at Copenhagen Fashion Week, which only seems to grow each year. This year I will be watching the shows by Henrik Vibskov and David Andersen – probably the most artistic and unique Danish designers I know. During fashion week in Copenhagen, Vision is also hosting a show presenting young Danish design talents, and it is always very remarkable.
What is your favorite part about living and working in Denmark?
I like Copenhagen for its architecture and many different sides. I live in the heart of the city and I could not be without the close distance to parks, lakes, theatres, museums, cinemas, galleries, and cafes. The city is large enough to propose a variety of possibilities and yet you always feel local. The varying seasons and weather changes inspire me very much. I like the view along the harbor part of Copenhagen at Langelinje – you may perhaps have heard of the Little Mermaid [statue]. In all, there is lots to enjoy, both for myself and together with my husband and our two little boys.
If you had the chance to work in any other city in the world, what would it be and why?
It would have to be Paris because of its elegance in general, and very well-dressed people. I would be happy just drawing Parisian ladies and the architecture.
Do you have any illustrators that inspire you?
There are quite a few. But mainly the impressionists; and Toulouse Lautrec was an outstanding illustrator and painter much ahead of his time, as he was working with print and posters. I admire our Danish Erik Mortensen, formerly designer at Balmain, whose fashion illustrations were some of the first I studied at the age of twelve. At the time, I wanted to establish my own fashion brand in Paris.
Besides other artists and fashion, what do you draw the most inspiration from in your work?
Movements. I am drawn to use people in motion in my work, especially at fashion shows when I do live drawings, catching the turns of the model and the clothes. The Danish designer David Andersen’s shows are always a pristine balance of the models’ look and make up and, of course, the clothes. Also, landscapes inspire me especially, as well as motives and sentiments from the city.
Where do you see you and your illustration in the next five years?
I will be delivering illustrations to several fashion magazines and continue to watch fashion shows, local and internationally, at which I will be doing my live sketches. I would like to develop my illustrations for posters, cards, and more.