“I feel like no one can argue with art, you can think what you want about my art, but you can’t argue with a painting. It says what it says.”Fatima Krantz
We invite you to get to know this truly talented artist that has a pertinent and profound message within her work. We have fallen in love with her art, and we know you will too.
EotB: Please tell us your story and how you began as an artist.
FK: I have Kenyan roots but grew up in a very white suburb in southern Sweden. I think as many black children, I grew up very insecure of my brown skin and afro hair. As I grew older and started understanding the structures in the society better it all really came to me – nothing was wrong with me – but everything was wrong with society. I grew up with two self made parents, my mother is black and she told me “Fatima as a black kid you will always have to work twice as hard to get half of what they have” and my dad who is white and on the contrary always told me “Your circumstances don’t matter, it’s what you decide to make of yourself that does” I really took both advices with me. I knew I had to work twice as hard and I also knew my circumstances did matter, but it all boils down to what a person chooses to do with their circumstances.
I always felt underrepresented in art and media and I could not wait around for other people to start representing me and my people. This is why I got into art. It’s both a political and personal way to express myself. Like M.J said, it starts with the man in the mirror. I’m just a small girl somewhere in the Scandinavian woods but I am doing what I can to represent black beauty. I feel like no one can argue with art, you can think what you want about my art, but you can’t argue with a painting. It says what it says. And my art says that black women are bold, beautiful and very capable of creating new brighter circumstances for ourselves.
EotB: What was your first illustration?
FK: I’ve drawn a lot of classic art when I was younger but this was my first digital illustration: It’s so much fun to look back and see how I have grown!
EotB: Many of your pieces on instagram are accompanied with a poem, are you a poet as well?
FK: Is anyone who writes a poem a poet? I don’t know. No, I just love to read poetry and I use poetry to help further explain what my illustrations stand for!
EotB: What types of materials do you use when creating your products and why have you chosen them?
FK: I use an iPad pro with an Apple pencil and a program called procreate. It was an easy choice, I worked as a flight attendant before corona hit and I spent a lot of time in hotels and wanted something I could fit in my flightbag and bring along on long layovers.
EotB: Does your brand have a signature style and if so how would you describe it?
FK: Definitely. I still love classical painting and would absolutely love to create more classical art, but for now I focus on digital art. I do try to make my art resemble classical oil paintings as much as I can but also keep a digital touch to it so I’d say I have a very painterly and expressive style. For example my latest illustration took a total of 17 hours and had 25.000 brush strokes so I spend a lot of time layering brush strokes on top of each other to make it look hand painted! I draw in procreate like I would do anything in real life.
EotB: “The Gardener” is one of our favorites. The subject’s eyes are so piercing and intense. Please tell us more about this piece and what was your inspiration.
FK: It’s among my favorites too! But honestly, I think unlike many other artists I love everything I create haha! She really reminds me a lot of my own grandmother and I thought a lot about her during the process, I guess that makes her a great inspiration. But the piece itself raises the issue of neo-colonialism in Africa. The accompanying poem says it all I believe:
- They have come to our land to tell us
- We are insufficient
- What do they know of planting a seed
- In land with no waters?
Can their artificial intelligence harvest the cassava that fills the bellies of our children?
- Can their satellites create a plan from a seed where there is only sand?
- Can their fast moving trains, planes, and cars
- Turn a single seed into an entire life?
They have come to our land to say that we are insufficient
- As if.
It is something that really bothers me that the immense knowledge in the african diaspora is looked down upon because we don’t have the same technologies in the western world. We are often seen as underdeveloped and less smart and the west world and china comes to Africa to spread their technology in exchange for land and goods – this is all technology we don’t need and Africa is giving away the same ground that they grow food on so chinese can grow food for their population of 1 Billion!!! people. All the knowledge we have today, most of it comes from Africa from the very beginning. One of my favorite quotes is: “White people colonized half the world to get spices, and still don’t know how to use it. Take that joke with a pinch of salt.”
EotB: What painting is a favorite for you and why?
FK: My favorite one is fruitful. She is everything! I made it in the beginning of the black lives matter protests. It was a mentally heavy period that brought back a lot of racist trauma, and also having a lot of white friends who didn’t understand my hurting and kept sending videos and pictures of black people suffering.
Art is always my escape and I just wanted to create something bright and colorful portraying a woman that stands for the future of black women. She is showing us a time beyond the pain and suffering when we have grown beyond and above the darkness and we can just sit on the beach or on our porches and ENJOY. So she was a really important piece when I was suffering mentally and looking at her makes me so happy.
EotB: Please explain your artistic process of creating a painting from start to finish.
FK: Ah, it’s a mess! Usually I lie in bed, either at 2 am and can’t fall asleep or at 6 am after waking up too early and just endlessly scroll through pinterest looking for inspiration and reference pictures. I probably save a thousand pictures and end up drawing one. I don’t usually have a story or a mental picture when I begin, all of it kind of evolves as I go. It’s different with commissioned pieces because I need to show a sketch that looks somewhat like the finished product and then I try to finish it in 14 days. But with my own pieces, what I start with is very rarely what I end up with and they can take me many weeks to finish. I try to not throw anything I start because I struggle with commitment so I really try to commit to a piece once I have started it. I probably have 4-5 half done pieces in my library now.
Finishing is my favorite part. I usually hate my drawings until I’ve done the finishing touches and then I love it, haha! Really a love-hate relationship.
EotB: What current projects are you working on now, and what is next for Krantz Illustrations in the future?
FK: Right now I just opened up my etsy shop and had my first exhibition. Right now I’m just focusing on creating and growing. I’m really hoping to grow my social media platforms and my little shop so that maybe in the near future I won’t have to juggle 3 different day jobs to pay the rent. It’s definitely a privilege to use something you really love to pay your bills. I also want to keep my art as affordable as I can so that people like myself can actually access that art. Unfortunately original art by small artists can be hard and very expensive to come over. I had a lot of people telling me I’m too cheap, and galleries contacting me wanting to make me sell art at thousands of dollars but that is not who I am and will never be. I want every black girl out there to have a copy of my art and look at it and feel proud and seen.
EotB: Please tell our readers (feel free to use links – we will hyperlink them from our interview) where they can purchase from Krantz Illustrations.
FK: You can buy my fine art prints from etsy – they’re of really high quality and look absolutely gorgoeus in real life it’s insane! And best of all – they’re affordable even though they are fine art print (high quality paper, not your average poster). They’ll last you a lifetime.
To follow Fatima Krantz and stay up to date on her current projects you can follow her here on Instagram. We have loved getting to know Fatima and her fine art. She has inspired us, and many others.