Who are you? Where are you based?
My name is Robin Gavie and I am 38 years old. I live in Sweden, on the countryside near the ocean on westcoast, with my wife, daughter and cats. I work as a teacher in primary school which I love and outside work I spend my time with my family and close ones.
When and why did you first start making your art?
I started my art as an adult, not many years ago. We gave our daughter some beads for Christmas and as I was helping her I felt this feeling of creativity and I continued beading after we put her to bed. I have always felt like a creative person but never found my way of expressing it, but I felt it instantly with the beads and wanted to explore it more further.
In the beginning I made very classical and easy pieces, like different game characters, and now about two years later my projects have got bigger and more advanced
What inspires your artwork?
When I was a kid, I loved to play Nintendo and that “8 bit”-feeling of pixel art have always been both classical and nostalgic for me. Right now I make beadart out of pictures I see but as I develop my skills I look forward to try to create my very own patterns. What inspires my artwork is mostly everyday life – it can be a quote that speaks to me, beautiful sites in nature or cool places in the city, something that happened that I want to express somehow.
Do you remember the first piece you made?
My first beadwork was something from Nes - MarioKart. Then when I started photographing my beadwork I did a hamburger which I put infront of my TV with a suiting background. I was quite happy about those kinds of pictures at that time, but I wanted to bring my life to my pieces so I began to photograph them outside. The boy with the bike is my first real piece.
What's the biggest piece you've ever made?
The biggest piece I’ve made was about 30 boards big. I was so tired of it at the end, but the photo came out good so I’m happy I finished it. It is an abandoned house in the forest, a pattern from pixelartist @indieshilov (twitter)
What is your art workspace like?
My workspace is a big desk in a small space of our house. I have a big window and some of my beadarts on the walls. I like to keep it neat and pragmatic when I want to be creative, I actually don’t want to be surrounded with too many things instead I keep it more minimalistic
What are the tools of your trade?
The tools are Artkals 160-color palette, pegboards, ski waxing iron and a tweezer especially for beading
Can you talk us through your creative process? How do you go about planning and creating a piece?
Normally a project takes around 1 week from start to finish. The first thing I do is to figure out what I want to do. I search for patterns, from pixelartists, crossstitches, old gamesprites or I create my own pattern in a program from pictures. When I then start beading I go into this feeling of flow, it is actually quite meditative to bead and it gives me time to think about how I want to photograph the artwork. Sometimes I know exactly up front how and where to take the shot, but sometimes I need to work with the piece and it kind of grows as the piece grows. After the beadwork is done I get to the ironing. I want it totally flat without visible holes and that means the ironing takes some time. I have tried many methods and now I only use a ski waxing iron. The last part is to photograph and after I have found my location I need to find a good solution for how to hang, stand or lean the beadwork, which can be very tricky sometimes. In the picture of the cat you actually see a two-piece beadwork where I hung the two separate pieces on each side of the branch. I love this part of the photoshoot, to find good solutions to let the artwork blend into the surroundings. The photoshoot takes from 5 minutes to 3 hours, the latest one with the golden dancer took 3 hours because I waited for the perfect sunset
What's the most time you've spent on a project?
I think some of my bigger projects have taken about 10-12 hours in total, but split over a period of say one or two weeks.
What are the most common questions you get asked about your art?
Many tell me that they think my pictures and beadwork are full of life and soul, and they wonder how I do that. I guess I just follow my instinct on what I find to be beautiful, important and fun to create. People also ask me about my ironing technique and how I succeed with my ironing. I have found a good quality brand of beads which are easy to work with and iron according to the tejping-method, and only use a ski waxing iron. You need to give yourself time and practice a lot to find the method that suits you the best
Have you had any art-related disasters?
Actually no major disasters, but offcourse I have made a lot of mistakes. Just as important for learning as anything.
Do you have a dream project you'd love to make, but just can't justify yet?
Actually, I am quite happy with how I have found my creativity and how I use it right now. I do what I like and that is good enough for me
What was your most recent project?
My latest project was a ballerina dancer. I have this idea of working on themes, where I make four different beadworks that goes together. This was my forth ballerina so now my dancers are complete. The pixelart of this last dancer is made of one of my favourite pixelartists Luis Maldonado @solosalsero and I have had this pattern in my phone for over 2 years and wanted to do it for so long. I think it came out beautifully, in the light of the sunset
What are your favourite experiences you've had as a result of your art?
I love that my artwork gives me time to go out in our nature, I have seen so many beautiful sites. It is very relaxing to spend time outdoors. I also find beading to be very meditative, I go into this sensation of flow after a while and then I sit for hours at my desk.
One of my favourite moment is when I take shot after shot after shot, and then suddenly I just feel that I just took the perfect one.
Do you have any projects in progress or in the pipeline right now?
I always have a new project :)
Do you sell your art? If so, how can people find it?
I don’t sell anything at the moment, but last year I donated a photograph along with the original beadart of my first project (the boy and the bike) to “Musikhjälpen” here in Sweden, where all the collected money went to medical care organizations around the world. I hope to start selling prints of my work in the future.
How can people find you online? Drop your social media handles, websites etc...
You can find me at my Instagram profile @skapamedparlor
Anything else to share? Shoutouts, words of wisdom etc?
Do more of what makes you happy!
My name is Iain and my addiction is making pixel bead art. My main inspirations are comics, video games and movies.