Drawing Berlin with Xuehka

An interview taken from our April digital issue. Xueh Magrini Troll, aka Xuehka belongs to the third generation of female artists in her family. Her mother and her grandmother are both painters and sculptors, so art was always really natural to Xuehka. Following the women of her family, she thoughts she had to study fine art, where she felt quite misunderstood and not really free. Xuehka later found in Illustration the perfect creative form for her. She loves to communicate and express really clear ideas with what she does, and in Illustration, Xuehka found the space to do so.

KALTBLUT: How would you describe your work in your own words?
Xuehka: Raw, fun, free.

KALTBLUT: What medium/tools do you feel most comfortable with when creating your work?  
Xuehka: I am really old school regarding my tools. I always have a sketchbook with me, where I allow myself the freedom to do whatever I feel like. My sketchbooks are like toilet walls, where I can go from deep existential thoughts, to the silliest joke or observation…from there I see what I would like to continue working on. I love ink pens and markers, and sometimes I combine that with digital coloring.

KALTBLUT: Are your illustrations inspired by personal experiences or of friends/scenarios you know of?
Xuehka: I get mostly inspired by my own life, but of course also from stories I hear, situations I see. Since the beginning of my illustrations, my own life and experiences have been the biggest source of inspiration. I feel like I can really speak about what I have experienced first hand. Lately I am noticing how this connection between my art and my life is becoming stronger, or how one is flowing more and more into the other. For example, the fact that I am always looking for moments to draw makes me live my life more aware. More aware of the beauty, the horror, the nonsense, the fun, the absurdity, the craziness,

I also really enjoy doing collaborations and commissions, in which I can either combine my brain with other creative brains, or, for example while working for newspapers, try to find images to express certain political position or commentary about relevant subjects, like feminism, economics or racism … I find that really challenging and creatively super exciting.

KALTBLUT: You’re based in Berlin now, but grew up in Bogota. How do both cities influence your work?
Xuehka: I feel really lucky to have had the chance to live and grow up in such different cultures. I came to Berlin when I was 18 years old, and the cultural shock was really strong… I didn’t speak any german, and I didn’t understand anything else either: social interactions, bureaucracy, the weather … but now, being a bit older I feel like I can keep the best of my two worlds, and that reflects in my work too. I will never stop being surprised by this city, even though I can now call myself a Berliner, inside of me there will always be the tourist-me, amazed by the wonders and horrors this city has to offer. So I think I became an insider, with an outsider gaze, which gives a certain freshness to my work. Berlin has influenced my work, by allowing me the freedom of fully expressing myself. Also, my emotionality and my love and obsession with color comes definitely from my Colombian roots.

Instagram: @xuehka

Read the full interview here: