April 17, 2014
Illustrator and animator Nina Nordal Rønne tells the story of old Oslo, and how “a walk between old tree trunks, and then entering an open landscape, is refreshing” in a way that inspires her daily creative work. “When I draw or write, I work with a small-scale world under my hands. When I go for a walk and stop in front of a view, the perspective changes.”
I like to go out and have a good look at the view, as a contrast to my work as an illustrator working on smaller landscapes and scenarios at my desk. There’s a visual shift from detail to overview.
Oslo looks quiet and peaceful from the hillside of Ekeberg, with softly curved hills and forests surrounding the city core. Ekeberg was bought by the city around 1900 to secure it for the public and prevent developers from destroying the landscape. Just beneath Ekeberg is the Old Town (Gamlebyen), the first urban area from around year 1000. The medieval ruins and the Old Bishop’s Palace, called Ladegården, is the heart of this neighbourhood. Just a few minutes walk from the old town is the contrasting “new town”. It’s the same story here with gentrification, as in many other cities. A new area is under rapid construction with high-tech architecture popping up like a stonegarden behind the snow-white and popular Opera house. A relocation and building of a new Munch Museum is planned into the same area. Munch painted “the Scream” as seen from Ekeberg. That view will look different in the future.
The city is busy growing, but it is still a small town. It is easy to find green and quiet spaces. I grew up close to the Vigeland Sculpture Park, where I used the park a lot as a playground. Now I live on the other side of Oslo, only a 10-15 minutes walk down to the city center, cafés, galleries and shops.
The Ekeberg Sculpture Park opened in 2013. I like to walk there going through the woods, but you can more easily reach the park by taking the tram, it goes uphill with a spectacular view along the seaside. There are a lot of footpaths to follow, and most of them end at a nice spot with an overview of the city. The reconstructed stairs in the southern part of the park is one of them, and it is a really nice place to chill, bring a picnic basket and friends or a book. Ekeberg is also a great place in the evening, but remember to bring a headlamp. The Ekeberg restaurant has a bar in the corner of the second floor, but it is no longer open as a public bar, I think. I pretended it was a Tokyo sky bar after visiting Tokyo and falling in love with it. A nice view is a great boost for the creative forces.
As an illustrator, I try to work structured to meet deadlines or plan new work. I also try to be structured about taking “off time” to absorb ongoing processes in a more free and relaxed way. A walk between old tree trunks, and then entering an open landscape, is refreshing.
When I draw or write, I work with a small-scale world under my hands. When I go for a walk and stop in front of a view, the perspective changes. I become the small figure in a bigger landscape. It is simple, but effectful – and relieving in a way.