Graphic designer, illustrator, collagist, print maker and candle stick maker, Sonia Hensler is the cow that jumped over the moon with a silver spoon in her mouth. At 26, she's already scored collaborations with CoCo De Mer and Top Shop, and says Britain is the place she always knew she'd create brilliant art in. She was also 2007's prize winner of the 1st edition of "anti traffic" contest of the Mobile Design Gallery. That was a mouthfull. Which is fitting, as we'd like to describe Hensler as a cream puff accessorised with strawberries stuffed into a lipsticked mouth with vampire fangs. It's time for tea...
SS: Explain the carnival of life, please.
Sonia: In regards to the writing found on my website, I thought that a Carnival was an appropriate analogy of life and love; The sensory stimulation a spectator experiences when watching a carnival; the lulls and highs, the ebbing, flowing, contrasting styles of music and dress. Similarly, the highs and lows of our loves and relationships can have the same qualities found in a Carnival procession; Preparation, ideas, dreams and then colourful, joyful realisation which can sometimes be ever so transitory or can stay with you for life!
SS: One of your services is privately commissioned illustrations. What's the craziest thing someone has asked you to paint?
Sonia: An art piece showing people having sex in space.
SS: Think back to the days when crayons were your primary tool and exhibition space was the fridge. Do you remember the first thing you ever sketched?
Sonia: Back then I was already using professional tools; pastels belonging to my mother. My first picture was completely filled with colourful imaginary creatures. I was 12 months old when I created this picture and it hangs about my bed 'till this day.
SS: Banning the regular legends from the table (the one-eared Van Gogh, superhuman Da Vinci and a plastic-looking Warhol) who's your favourite artist?
Sonia: I love Giotto for his Gothic simplicity, the illusion of real life through an almost one dimensional painting style; Albrecht Durer for his wonderful etchings; Paul Delvaux and Balthus for their magical and captivating eroticism; Ucello for his pink horses, Otto Dix for the dark, sexual elements in his work and Turner for expressing English romantism so vividly and with such gorgeous washes of colour.
SS: Having your designs printed on Topshop tees must have been pretty awesome. Are there anymore clothing collaborations in the pipeline?
Sonia: I began cooperating with British lingerie company Coco de Mer. I design the packaging for their (quite erotic) panty hose. Then there are some projects in Poland - packaging design, web design for a fashion designer, and for Sugar Vintage in Dubai.
SS: You're famous for your edgy, modern collages and a super unique aesthetic but why do you draw?
Sonia: I believe that a good, solid drawing line is crucial and the base for design. The hand doesn't lie, that's why I use it in my work. I hope I'm leaving something of myself behind in my work....an expression of my soul that isn't really achievable through the use of a computer.
SS: What made you move from Poland to the land of castles, free-flowing tea and bad teeth?
Sonia: I must have lived in the UK in my previous lives because when I stepped onto English soil for the first time, I knew this was my place on Earth! And I knew that this is where I can truly create art!
SS: Where were you this time last week?
Sonia: On a Greek island Zakhyntos. It reminded me of the Tuscan atmosphere that I love.
SS: If you stepped into a pair of doc martin's for the day, where would you walk?
Sonia: I would walk into an old London art gallery, filled with the aroma of expensive perfume, chocolate, colourful biscuits and Art... and then it would turn out that all of this is MINE!
Words: Sarah Bonser
Illustrations: Sonia Hensler