Say hello to Sanna Dyker. Also in the picture is her 6-month-old kitten, Otto, who likes to join her whilst she draws. ‘He stares intently at my pen and tries to swat it while I draw,’ says Sanna. Other than playing with Otto (who is possibly one of the cutest cats of all time?!), she relaxes by watching football matches.
Sanna, whose day job is working as an assistant in a museum, collects old photographs. ‘I find it sad that they have ended up on eBay or in carboot sales,’ she explains. ‘So I collect and display some of them.’
Tell us a bit about yourself…
My name is Sanna and I’m currently based in Dundee, Scotland. I studied illustration at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design and graduated in 2008 but have been drawing for as far back as I can remember. I drew a picture at primary school of some clowns and the teacher made such a big fuss over it, taking it to another teacher to show her. I was always encouraged by family and friends from a young age and enjoyed showing people my work.
What are your inspirations?
I love looking at human nature, everyday living, and enjoy learning about social history. I’m more inspired by writing rather than other pieces of art and enjoy the social interactions in Tennessee Williams plays and the complexities and hardships of life in the novels of George Orwell. There are some artists work that I do still count as main inspirations though. I grew up reading Beatrix Potter books and would watch the videos of the stories at my granny’s. As I grew older I was also interested in her flora and fauna studies. Her delicate lines and use of water colour have influenced me greatly and i would regard her as one of my main inspirations.
Colin Thompson was my favourite illustrator when i was young. His books contained great detail and i would spend hours looking through the pages. The stories were dreamlike and full of adventure, yet tended to take place in normal surroundings such as ordinary rooms in a house. Small cafes could be seen peeking out of the bottom of sofas, and tiny alley ways disappeared in between chair legs. I loved the extreme detail and still find it inspiring today. Overall though my pens tend to determine how my drawing is going to go. My style settled around the same time as finding the right pens for me to draw with. My pens are like my children and they do exactly what I want them to do. It’s hard to describe just how important the relationship with a good pen is, but all I can say is it’s the most important of all influences here.
What is your favourite piece of work you have produced?
That would have to be one of the biggest drawings I’ve ever done of a street in Paris. The drawing is almost a metre in length and is homage to my favourite photography work by the late French photographer Eugene Atget. The piece is a collage of drawings, inspired by my favourite sections of streets that he photographed in Paris in the mid 1890s. I slotted all the drawings together to create a street of my own. Made up of real sections of Paris, I wanted it to appear like a patchwork of memories of the city at the time
Atget photographed it. It was very enjoyable to create and is still my favourite piece I’ve made.
I’m more inspired by places such as old buildings and castles, as well as books and photography than I am by other pieces of art however Beatrix Potter is probably my main inspiration since childhood and the illustrator Nigel Peake would be my favourite illustrator of the moment.
All images © Sanna Dyker. To view the images in clearer detail, click on them.