Embroidery Artist Q&A: Inge Jacobsen

Sussex, U.K.-based embroidery artist Inge Jacobsen uses found advertising imagery as the basis for her provocative artwork. She employs “thread as a way of physically intervening and appropriate their meaning” – essentially “hijacking” the image and its original intent. 

Jacobsen graduated London-based Kingston University in 2011, and since then her career has taken off. She’s exhibited her work around the world – in 2012, she displayed her pieces alongside YBA Sarah Lucas at Nick Knight’s SHOWstudio Shop as part of the "Selling Sex" show. Her art has appeared in Vogue, Juxtapoz Magazine, Frankie Magazine and FAD. In 2012 she was included in a list of the top 20 rising talents by a prominent Danish lifestyle magazine.

Her artwork evokes an instant visceral response in the viewer. For example, in her “Consumed” series, Jacobsen weaves multi-colored threads out from the eye sockets and mouths of female models in high-end advertisements, rendering them into eerie, personality-less portraits. She also reproduces magazine covers in thread, and creates “weaved pages” from items she has curated from other sources.

We ask Jacobsen five questions about her work:

Q. What did you want to be when you grew up, and why?
Inge Jacobsen:
I always wanted to be an artist as I loved drawing and painting as a child. I was creative even from a young age and I am very much a visual thinker.

Describe your stitched art aesthetic in five words or less. Or just five separate words.
IJ: Tactile

Your pop-culture-referenced “Consumed” series is beautifully disturbing. Walk us through your process in creating the first piece.
I so enjoyed creating these pieces. I started by taking beautiful/highly stylized images from fashion magazines, removing parts of the eyes and mouth and delicately pushing embroidery thread through the gaps. The idea of creating something a little horrifying and grotesque from these non-threatening commercial images and a bit of fine thread has opened up a variety of ways for me to evolve my practice even further.

What is your favorite cover in your thread magazine covers collection, and why?
IJ: It’s hard to pick a favorite because they all mean a lot to me, but I’m very pleased with the way the Thom York on the Dazed and Confused cover worked out as it was experimental. I never thought it would work as well as it did.

And what is it about thread/yarn/fiber that compels /obsesses you so that you use it so often in your artwork?
IJ: I’m not sure; every time I do a piece that takes me weeks I think "that’s it – I can’t work with this anymore," but I always come back to it. It inspires me to create pieces that painting and drawing hasn’t really been able to do for years. It also means a lot to me on a personal and cultural level.

Visit her website at www.ingejacobsen.com. Also, check out some of her work in the slideshow below.