I’ve always been drawn to the unreal that could be real, one day
Looking at the distorted, strangely beautiful images of the Antwerp-based graphic designer and artist Louise Mertens, one gets a sense of uncanny suspension in time where different moments and moods merge.
It’s a reflection of Louise’s personality and sensibility. “I’ve always been drawn to the unreal that could be real, one day”, Louise tells. “In people especially. Movies like A.I, Avatar, Ex Machina, Barbarella and more, attract me. Creatures that shift between human and robot, in a very subtle, almost real way. We live in a virtual time where we start to evolve towards the ‘future’ and it really excites me. Traveling backward, forward and living in the present.”
The experience of time is something that’s undeniably important in Louise’s life and work. About the time she spent interning in NYC, a city she calls “amazing with so many aspects to discover”, she says, interestingly: “New York feels like it never really happened.”
One of the aspects of living in Antwerp that she values highly is the fact that there, people still know the art of dining, which is something she “really missed” in NYC. Sitting around a kitchen table with friends, eating and talking for hours.”
When it comes to her work, especially her commissioned projects, Louise finds she creates more freely when not too restrained by a concept. Ideally she just gets started and – regardless of the time it takes – creates something in a casual and impulsive way. That’s why this particular project suited her to a tee: Louise’s signature style could flow thanks to the trust put in her by Komono.
“I started with a concept, an idea, but realised quickly it gave me less options and soon I got stuck. So I let go of it and started shooting and creating freely, no idea what the outcome would be.” Given free reign, Louise came up with the time traveler concept, which ties in with the Signature Series perfectly. “I travel in time when I can create freely, with headphones, my favorite music, hours of dedication and most importantly, no awareness of time.”