HuskMitNavn
Multidisciplinary artist HuskMitNavn creates cartoons with a sense of realism by using cut-outs, precise placement and shadowing, and perfect camera angles. (Illustration by Jaila Desper, University of Maryland, College Park)

HuskMitNavn, the Graffiti Artist Turned Bubble Cartoonist, Is an Instagram Phenom

The artist makes inventive use of paper and pen to make art that feels childlike, but in reality is anything but.

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HuskMitNavn

The artist makes inventive use of paper and pen to make art that feels childlike, but in reality is anything but.

HuskMitNavn, which means “Remember My Name” in Danish, might be known for their larger-than-life bubble cartoons marking entire buildings in Copenhagen and portraying the subtle moments of life in galleries across the world, but it’s their Instagram drawings that caught my attention.

Starting out as a graffiti artist in the ’90s, the Copenhagen native, who has remained anonymous for nearly three decades now, began garnering acclaim as a multidisciplinary artist, painting and drawing retro-bubble characters publicly and on social media. “In the 1990s, I had very little money for spray paint,” they told The Hundreds in an interview. Stealing paint was not really my thing so I started to paint characters instead of graffiti letters. You don’t need a lot of paint for a simple character.”

Their various artistic mediums, though, have made the name HuskMitNavn memorable across Denmark and on social media, although no one knows the real name behind the pseudonym. “It’s like wearing a uniform,” they told Bryony Stone of their anonymity. “I can leave it at my studio and when I walk out the door no one connects my work with my face, which gives me the possibility not to think about work all of the time. I did not start drawing to become a known face, but I like when people see the things that I create.”

Their canvas art, which captures the silent moments in life in a boldly colorful and unpretentious way, has called galleries from Copenhagen to Los Angeles home. “There is so much dark and pompous art in the world,” they said, “I’m trying to make the opposite thing.”

In their exhibit “Days Like These,” a family of six are stuck in a doorway, their golden-yellow and burnt-orange features glinting behind a screen of rain. “Problem Solved” shows a woman with an exaggeratedly long nose and inflated purple body stepping out of a shower, trailing a pool of water as she meticulously shields herself and reaches for a towel too far away. In “The shadow,” a man and a woman walk in line, their massive black and white eyes fixed on each other and their clothes nearly identical, but only their shadows hold hands. What HuskMitNavn captures, in an absurd but significant way, are the precious moments in life no one gives a second thought to.

Juxtapoz Magazine calls the artist’s style “unladen by the ‘rules’ of the fine art world,” and credits them for developing “a recognizable visual language that is recognized worldwide.” Indeed, their name has become a household one Denmark.

HuskMitNavn’s drawings on Instagram affirm their ability to capture life and pop-culture in realistic but humorous ways. With only paper and black ink, the artist’s drawings are ingeniously, mind-blowing 3-D depictions that leap out from the page.

Never shying away from minuscule details, HuskMitNavn creates a sense of realism with cut-outs, precise placement and shadowing, and perfect camera angles. For example, a video post on Instagram shows the artist playing tennis with a drawing; in another, a character treads through a snow storm up to his knees for some candy, the page torn through the character’s path; a third finds a figure looking at himself in a puddle, the page wet at his feet where his reflection waves at him.

Although their illustrations seem simple, HuskMitNavn creates pieces for social medial worthy of their own gallery. “I only use the internet for work-related stuff. Just for photos of drawings and projects I made. It would look unprofessional if I also started to post silly selfies and photos of my TV dinner,” they told The Hundreds. But with 205,000 followers, HuskMitNavn’s doing just fine.

In another post, this one from an aerial point of view, HuskMitNavn photographed their drawing of a couple photographing their meals under an awning, the canopy a bent cut out from the page, the angle of their camera perfectly hiding the cut-out hole and adding depth to such a simple occasion. Very few artists master so many art forms, never mind create fun and lively artwork that captures viewers’ attention and admiration.

Not surprisingly, HuskMitNavn finds their inspiration in simple everyday life, capturing the heart and imagination of their viewers and at times speaking to the monsters in life, like the all-consuming demands of work, which can leave very little room for anything else.

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Just the two of us

A post shared by HuskMitNavn (@huskmitnavn1) on

“In my experience, life isn’t always in balance, so it’s sort of a constant struggle” they told Art Land. “Most working people are struggling to find the right combination of work and spare time. I suspect it has been like that for quite some time, but smartphones have not made it easier. Now people bring their work AND their emails with them everywhere, not just home (which can be bad enough), but to the playground and other places designated for family time. When work becomes without limitations, it seems more important to really insist on taking time for the LIFE-part of the work-life balance.”

Whether it’s the niceties or bitter truths, HuskMitNavn provides genuine portrayal of an amusing and ironic world through cartoon bubble characters.

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