Artist portrait: Noa Gammelgaard
I stumbled upon Noa Gammelgaards work via Instagram, where a graphically monochrome, but golden and pinkish gallery, drew me in. I asked her if I could visit her atelier, which also appeared to be her home, located in the centre of Copenhagen.
Noa breathes her work, she is her work. Wearing a long black dress she’d made herself, with white speckles all over it and her golden hair, she represented the palette of colours used in her work. She is into what I’d call a slow process, firstly, travelling around to source her pigments, then bringing them home, making the paints, labelling and naming her colours. She creates her own pieces of canvas, building them from scratch - it seems these steps of preparation is half the craft. Her visual language is present in every piece of art that she does, but she challenges her medium and doesn’t let ideas get killed by practical hinderings. I’m inspired by her energy and her commitment to her style. And of course, slightly envious of her artistic playground (which you might also be after having looked at the photos I took from there). But this lady is young and fierce, and I’m so glad we made it happen, on a calm Saturday morning in her home, in her world of shapes.
Noa Gammelgaard grew up in the heart of Copenhagen, in the apartment that is now also her atelier. She shares both the home and the atelier with her mother, Tenka Gammelgaard: “I grew up with my amazing mother and artist Tenka Gammelgaard, right here in the atelier, amongst paint on the floor and walls, surrounded by thousands of brushes. I have always been drawn to create, to paint, making jewellery and the list goes on.” Noa studies at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, in Copenhagen and on the side, she has her own little company, where she does graphic design work and art direction. Mind you, she started this company as a 19 year-old. She spends all her free time painting in the atélier, which she claims is her favourite place to be.
Three words that describe your work?
Playful, organic, balance.
Noa Gammelgaard on composition
“There always needs to be balance. That is my keyword. I can spend hours creating shapes, and finding the right balance.“
Who or what are you inspired by right now?
“I always find inspiration in nature. And right at this moment, there is a very special spring afternoon light. In Danish we use the term "skumringstid" for this certain magical hour, where the sky turns completely pink.”
The most interesting texture/object/place you’ve drawn inspiration from
“I have a thing for salt mines. I travelled all the way to a specific place, just to visit a pink salt mine. It was placed inside a black volcano crate in the middle of a desert. All the colours and organic shapes from the surroundings, will forever be imprinted in my mind to draw inspiration from.”
Something you’ve always dreamed of creating?
I am always very curious to work with new media and materials. I have a playful approach to new materials. And if I dream of making something, I try to make it realistic - so I can realise it. Right now I am dreaming of creating light sculptures.
Any cool/fun/new things you want to share or things that you are currently working on?
I am very fixated on trying to be even more sustainable in my work. Being aware of reusing and seeing possibilities in everything. I believe that it is the future to think sustainably, and it should be naturally integrated into every process.
How do you create your pigments?
Well, I can't tell you how, because that's a secret 200-year-old artistry my mom has taught me. But I can tell you that it is a magical process because the pigments are so alive. And when you create your own colours, you can get the exact result you want. I am so particular when it comes to finding the right tone of for example pink, and I can only reach that pink colour by making it myself. My mom and I travel around the world to gather the right raw pigment to create the paint. The black pigment comes from Venezia, and is used for painting the gondolas. The pink is from Himalaya. The browns are from Africa.