Interview with architect and illustrator David Bülow

Thanks David aka @bulow_ink for taking part in our black and white illustrators’ interview series!

How long have you been drawing?

Since forever. As a child I would always be drawing, alone or with friends. Even when I didn’t have paper, I’m told I would be drawing in the air with my finger. I still do that, annoying I think. Every schoolbook and later notes from meetings has always been smeared with drawings and doodles. The funny thing is, that I remember conversations and situations better from looking at the drawings than reading my own notes, because my handwriting is so crappy.

What’s your process?

It varies. Sometimes I know excactly what the final result will be, and finish within an hour going straight to ink. Sometimes I do pencil sketches forever to capture the right movement or mood.

Digital vs traditional?

Both and more! I cherish the feeling of paper and pen, the sound and smell. I love that it is irreversible, that it counts. That there is no cmd + z and you have to include your accidental inkdrops or mistakes, or start over. It gives a focus and feeling of presence I sometimes find it difficult to find in the digital realm. For the bulow_ink project I only use traditional materials. But I work a lot from my Ipad and enjoy it as well, for architectural illustration, competition projects I use it professionally with my office.

I am experimenting with photogravure technique these days, a wonderful mix of digital crafts and traditional crafts. I hope to beging sharing the results soon, very excited!

How long does it take to create it?

It’s normally a wonderfully slow thing. Anything between a few minutes and days.

Is it a hobby or your career?

I don’t do hobbies, only passions. I work as an architect and run the architectural office @primus_arkitekter, where drawing by hand is a vital part of my work. The ink drawing is a creative outlet and art project, a place where you can let your imagination run and get lost in the sweetest possible way.

Why do you draw?

I can’t help it.

What inspires you?

I guess we all take inspiration from everything around us. I’m always enjoying people interacting with cities and architecture. Having personal moments in the context of the built environment. The climate crisis inspires me to act and draw, not only in the apocalyseporn-style, but as a way to raise awareness and inspire action. Women inspire me on a daily basis. The elegance and expressions of female gestures. I recently opened @bulow_kink for this fascination.

What are you working on right now?

I am working on a grapic novel on the daily life with bipolar disorder with my girlfriend Tina (who is the bipolar one) – she writes and I draw. The process is posted on insta – it´s a very meaningful process for both of us, to bring awareness and eliminate stigma – and try to have a laugh about it too. I hope you will follow and support it. This project is btw completely done digitally on the Ipad

And then I’m getting started on a book project describing emotions and experiences of urban spaces. I got a grant from the Danish Arts Foundation (thanks btw) to help finding time for it besides my architectural practice. And now made an timeline for the project with my publisher

With my office @primus_arkitekter we´re working on a theatre building in Odsherred, a library and culture house in Viby – and last week we handed in a competition bid for the new headquarters for the Roskilde Festival. Very exciting

Where do you sell your works?

At shows – and I have a webshop and a small gallery here in Copenhagen @blandtandet has several glissée prints for sale. I sell originals only by personal contact – so dm on Instagram for requests

What is the proudest moment that you have achieved?

Here goes a wornout kliché, but nothing beats the birth of my wonderful daughter – though the achievement was entirely my girlfriends

What is the biggest obstacle that you have faced?

If we overcome the basic obstacles like getting out of bed, providing food, staying healthy, multiplying and in general being a decent person – the biggest obstacle often proves to be your own ego.

You have one day to live, how do you spend it?

I’d rob a bank and invite all my friends to restaurant Niu in Miami or a teppanyaki place in Tokyo for a night of tasting, laughing and drawing. No doubt. Ought to do it before it’s my last day though.

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