February 25, 2011 - No Comments!

Jenny Theolin : The Score

Hey you lovely people, we bring this week’s score from here, there and all over. Literally.

It comes from the amazing Jenny Theolin—an art director by profession, an exhibition curator by night, and an explorer at heart. As a daughter of a Swedish diplomat she’s been brought up in eight different countries and oh yes, she has stories to tell. Her latest exhibition called Alien Nation best sums up the spirit of her weird and wonderful life. Read on to find out more.

This is the photo jenny took while being watched by N.Korea (seriously) as she celebrated a traditional Swedish Christmas in a bunker located in the Joint Security Area (JSA). (Some of the other cities she’s lived in include Stockholm, Tokyo, Vienna, Rome, Belmont, Istanbul.)

YCC: Ok, so you grew up all over the world—why London?

London sums up the world to me. Whenever I feel nostalgic and fancy an Iskender Kebab or some sushi, I know I can easily find it. Growing up as a diplomatic nomad has taught me to love and respect all cultures. And London encompasses them all.

YCC: Are you a typical blonde, naked, snow–rolling Swede?

Well, if you would visit me in Stockholm during the midsummer celebrations, it would be something like this:


YCC: So do people generally live up to their country's stereotype?

Oh yes. I think people play up to their stereotypes, especially when they reside outside their own country. I am definitely more Swedish in London than in Stockholm. In my experience, being proud of your nationality gives you an identity beyond name and personality – and I find it quite endearing to be known as the ‘banana-dancing Swede’. I think of stereotypes as a caricature of nationality – a magnification of truth.


YCC: What’s the most disgusting thing you’ve eaten?

Probably dog. Yes, that’s right. I had that in Japan. However, I have no recollection – I was too young unfortunately. I wish I could say it tasted ‘just like chicken…’

nom nom nom

YCC: Are art and design universal languages?

I started college at Bosphorous University in Turkey where I did a year. My favorite course was drawing under a master comic book creator in Turkey called Galip Tekin. He did not speak a word of English and I didn’t speak Turkish, but we communicated eloquently through the pencil. I think you learn a lot when you work with somebody from a different country. Their own culture adds a unique perspective to their art, while the general aesthetics are universally similar.

Here’s one of Galip Tekin’s comic art and something I drew under his tutelage. Nb. 'star, 100 AA'

YCC: So you must have some amazing family stories?

When my mum and dad lived in Zaire, they spent a few weeks hitchhiking in the African wilderness. One morning, an enraged elephant attacked their tent. Whilst my father was legging it with a branch of bananas, my mother had the guts to stop for a picture. The elephant systematically ‘trunked’ through their tent, ate everything including my mother’s banana skin purse [+ passports!]. Fortunately, he/she didn’t like the taste of my mum’s purse, so regurgitated it along with their passports covered in banana goo!

Orange tent & an elephant from a not–so–boring family slide show

YCC: So have you ever felt like an outsider?

The negative side of being a frequent traveler was always having to start over at new schools. I have attended 9 institutions [including 2 universities] in total. It did get to moments where I thought “What’s the point in making new friends if I am leaving in 2/3 years?.” BUT, as a result, I now have friends all over the world and always have a familiar face to visit when abroad!

YCC: Tell us about Alien Nation

Alien Nation is a month-long exhibition by a collective of London-based artists, photographers, writers and musicians. It is inspired by George Mikes’s book ‘How to be an Alien’ and celebrates the way he brilliantly captures the extraordinary transition that many people experience when first moving to London. A number of high-profile artists have created their take on the book.

YCC: What does exhibition curation give you that advertising doesn’t?

In the advertising [and design] world I’ve come across a plethora of skilled individuals [anything from photographers to painters] who get stuck in the corporate world of bread and butter. Day-to-day work seldom provides enough of a creative outlet for people within our industry, so curating their personal work is very satisfying. What I have also observed is the amazing creative nature of everybody within the industry, which is why we have cross-stitching copywriters and photographing account managers in the Alien Nation Exhibition.

YCC: Is there anything you haven't done?

Ha…well there's always things I'd wish I'd done:


And this:


YCC: Sooo, you have a new kitten, you MUST have a token cute kitty vid for us…

Yes! She sleeps. Like this -

Cat nap

To know more about Alien Nation visit Alien Nation. For more on her exciting journey visit Graphic Drip. To get in touch for a crit or a chat, email jennytheolin@graphicdrip.com

Also Alien Nation are currently looking for some more volunteers to help with the show, have a look here if you would like to get involved. Or email jenny@soapboxevents.co.uk

Published by: admin in The Score

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