For the third edition of our interview series we talked to the talented Esra Røise. Esra is a Norwegian illustrator based in Oslo. Inspired by the impulsiveness of snapshot photography, her work captures the beauty of day to day life and moments. Her illustrations are distinguished by their elegance, playfulness and romanticism and make you feel young and in love. We adore her work and it was really exciting to pick her brain on the concept of ”Identity”. For more of her work visit her instagram here.

What does identity mean to you?
Identity to me means who I am as a core being, and who I want to be; - Both in actions, words, physical appearance and the way I navigate through life.

How does fashion impact the way we express our identity?
My choices in clothing are that subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) voice of my identity. When we cannot express it with words or action, we express it with our appearance. I believe that what we chose to put on every day says something about who we are, or who we want to project to the world that we want to be. The way we belong (or not) to someone or something.

Were you part of any "sub-culture" growing up?
I'm grown up in the rural parts of Norway, from a tiny place with only 500 inhabitants so im sure i stuck out slightly when i shaved my head and got lots of piercings. My penpal that i traded mixtapes with got me into punk and indie, and hanging out with my brothers at the only skateramp around got me into skateculture. I later went on to work at a skateboard shop for many years, which further shape my taste in music and also just general attitude towards life i think. Clothing-wise i was all over the place but very much inspired by the music i listened to and i’d make my own customized band tshirts. I'd say I still dress like a mix between a 15 year old boy into music and a 70 yr old art school teacher, but with a slightly better budget and more refined taste than my younger self. Lol.

Do you think work influences the shaping of one's identity?
Yes. Who you socialize with, and the environment you are a part of in your daily life is bound to shape you in one shape or form. At least it very much did for me.

How do you work with the concept of identity in your art?
Since a lot of my protagonists are female, which is such an exhausted source of inspiration, I try to focus on making them interesting rather than "just" beautiful (though the two are of course not exclusive). My main goal when creating, regardless of whether I am drawing botanics or people or products, is to evoke a feeling. - Quite often of underlying melancholy, maybe because I'm a lil' fragile emo at heart still.Haha.

What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I am working on some larger scale botanical works that will be part of the interior in a physical space. Working large-scale with interior is such a treat because it gives me the opportunity to see my work in a new way other than just flat on paper.