Lea Kargaard
KOKOON Portraits # 15

30-year-old Lea Kargaard is a product of her time – she woke up and fell asleep to the sound of MTV at her childhood home. On a daily basis she would fill piles of notebooks with drawings of girls in the clothes she dreamt of. Today, she has turned her creativity and sense of colours and shapes into her livelihood as a designer at Studio David Thulstrup.


What turning points have helped define who you are today?

The summer I was accepted to The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts – it was a lifelong dream that came true. And it gave that experience of ‘hard work pays off´ - which is something that I truly believe in! Another thing that defined me was a breakup some years back. I experienced a lot of hardship, but it helped me realize that eventually it gets better. I went from feeling that nothing mattered to some months later waking up thinking: “God, I have never felt better”. This taught me, that you should never be afraid to be alone. It might seem cynical, but life shouldn’t only matter if you’re in a relationship.

What does art and culture mean to you?

It’s a really big part of my life, and I’m really against how these areas are more and more subsidized. I can’t wait for Copenhagen Contemporary to open at Refshaleøen and sincerely think, we need a Louisiana in the centre of the city and more design galleries like Etage Projects. Design and art are melting more and more together, and I’m convinced we’ll see more galleries not showcasing elitist art, but instead experimental design.


Artists who inspire you right now?

A big part of the inspiration for my work comes from visits to galleries, travels or conversations. And some pretty intense searches on Google, Instagram and Pinterest. The majority of my close acquaintances are creative, so on a daily basis we share inspiration on social media. I’m easily excited whether it is a very commercial photo or an unfocused zoom, as long as it’s just the right colours, composition or textures. And then there’s always Jean Arp (sculptor and abstract painter 1886-1966, ed.), who always has inspired me. My final project at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design took inspiration from his colours and mode of expression, which is so simple yet unbelievable exquisite. I love the simple things that possess a detail, which makes all the difference.


What’s important to you?

My family and my friends


When do you feel challenged?

At the moment every day. In a hard but still good way. I learn something new every day at work, and at times it’s difficult to be confident enough that the stuff I do makes a difference. That what I deliver is of importance and stand by my decisions. After all I’m the expert and it’s me who knows colours and materials. You wouldn’t believe the many shades of yellow that exist and it’s sometimes difficult for me to argue for choosing that exact yellow shade. It’s just something, I feel.


What tends to annoy you?

People running late! I’m that person who tends to be at a meeting five minute before. That’s probably also very annoying.


Do you cry easily?

Sure. I’ll attend an event, and somebody gets up to make a speech and my eyes get filled with tears. I’m very sensitive and I have a tendency to melancholy. Professionally this sensibility works in my advance – you shouldn’t be too analytical doing the thing I do.


What does gender mean to you?

I was one of those who ran faster than the boys and I felt an urge to prove my worth. I feel, that we as women in many situations have to fight more and prove more. But my gender also means, that at some point I’ll bear a child. I want children, but I don’t think my life won’t be fulfilled until then.


What does love mean to you?

It means a lot. I know it sounds tacky, but the most important thing is the love you have for yourself. I have been so cruel to myself, and I’m seriously done with that! Love between people is one of the most beautiful things and of course I also need that. But it’s also important to remember that you’re good enough and you need to love yourself for the one you are.


Neat clutter on my desk Favourite installation at Gether Contemporary in Kødbyen

Sketches from my final project at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design Ettore Sottsass exhibition in Italy

Coffee at my local coffee shop Greece, my favourite holiday destination

At art center Fondazione Prada in Milano A Sunday tradition - my friend Tamara at the local laundry

Carpet from my final project at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design North Modern detail

Studio David Thulstrup At home at Vesterbro – sculptor by Sunny Asemota