Inge Jacobsen is a UK based artist who will graduate from the Photography program at Kingston University in the UK in June. We came across her work one day two weeks ago while scavenging for new and interesting artists, images and things we’ve never seen before. Lo and behold, Jacobsen’s work: hand stitched Vogue and Dazed & Confused magazine covers, add new life to the printed image and to one of the planet’s most mass manufactured objects: fashion magazines.
In painstaking and meticulous detail, Jacobsen has transformed the fashion glossies from symbols of mass produced consumer publications into one-of-a kind commentaries on fashion, gender and marketing. The detail of her stitching is incredible and strategically placed to call attention to the figure, as you see in the example on page two.
Last week, we reached out to Jacobsen via email for a portrait session with the Australian born and London based photographer Patricia Niven and had the chance to ask her about her work.
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GlobalGrind:What motivated you to hand stitch Vogue and issues of Dazed & Confused magazines?
Inge Jacobsen: I’ve always had a thing for Vogue ever since I was a teenager. Every new issue I bought I would try and immerse myself into that world of beautiful images, of beautiful people and material objects. I’d love to live in a Vogue magazine. I tried to think of ways to experience the magazine other than just reading it or looking at it, I wanted to get under its skin. The stitching has allowed me to do that, it’s been my way of intervening in the exclusive world of high fashion magazines, partly by giving it a very touchable surface. More importantly, the cross stitching has allowed me to make my issues of mass produced magazines completely unique. You can’t buy mine at your local newsagent.
How long does it take to make one cover?
It really depends on the cover and how much detail it has. It also depends on how I stitch it. If it’s just a single line stitch they can take anywhere from 6 hours to a day. The Vogue covers are the same, it depends on the level of detail, but on average they take between two weeks to a month.
Other than fashion, what inspires your work?
Design. I’ve always had a thing for clean and simple graphic design. Also craft, (sewing of course) I have a huge amount of respect for people who spend years and years harnessing their skills and creating pieces that take a lot of time. Time is important to me because it’s precious, so spending a lot of it just to make something beautiful is inspiring to me. The work of artists such as Vik Muniz and John Baldessari has also inspired me. Muniz for his stunning pieces made from various materials and Baldessari for the humour in his art.
Have you always wanted to be an artist?
When I was a kid I did, but when I got to 16 I worried I might be living on friends’ sofas for the rest of my life (horror stories told by past tutors). So I started to think maybe I should choose a path that was more likely to get me a job. In the end the idea of not making and creating things didn’t feel right, so I decided to stick with art and hope for the best. I decided to go to Kingston University (London) to do my BA in photography, in the hopes of becoming an artist.
You are also a photographer. Is it an aspiration of yours to shoot for these publications?
It is definitely one of my main aspirations, yes, absolutely. My only fear is that they won’t let me near the final images with my needle and thread. At the moment my main focus is to work alongside these publications and create work that shows them off in a way they haven’t been seen before.
The work seems to be about identity and gender. As an artist who is also a woman, the materials you use for these works are materials, back in the day, associated with women and domesticity. Is your work a commentary on this and have you encountered any resistance to your work because you are a woman?
No, if anything people have been very supportive. To be fair, I’m just coming from a university environment (I’m graduating in June) so my work hasn’t been exposed to a large audience yet. It does have its obvious political undertones about gender and domesticity and it’s partly inspired by my late grandmother and her sisters. They would spend their time creating these beautiful and intricate cross stitched pieces that take a lot of time, concentration and patience. Women of my generation (and I in no way speak for them) have the freedom to spend our time how we please, we’re not expected to sit at home cross-stitching all day.
The magazine is a representation of my interests and that of my generation and the cross-stitching is a way of paying homage to my grandmother and her sisters.
I know that there may be people who see sewing and craft as a low art form; this is a perception I would like to change.