B/D Apparel Artist Interview: Clara Terne


"SuperNova," for Beautiful/Decay Apparel


Clara Terne is currently a Stockholm based illustrator and designer, inspired by “the bottom of the ocean, the edge of space, and everything in-between. The mundane and the magic.” Her works can perhaps best be described as a kind of playful conceptualism–approaching heavy ideas through light forms. She recently designed three Beautiful/Decay Apparel shirts, “When the Lights go Out,” “Super Nova,” and “Elevation.” Read the full interview below!

You graduated from the London College of Communication, and now reside in Stockholm—studying for your MA. How is the creative scene in Sweden right now?

I just recently moved back after five years in London, and I can’t say that I’m very familiar with the scene in Stockholm yet. There are some really good small design collectives here, but naturally the scene is a lot smaller than in London.


What are some of your favorite images, ideas, that inspire your works?

The bottom of the ocean, the edge of space, and everything in-between. The mundane and the magic.

How would you describe your personal style?

Playfully controlled. 

Form, not Function

A lot of your works seem to take a very conceptual approach, while still remaining sort of playful—how do you balance these two aesthetics?

For me these two are not contradicting, when I work on self-initiated projects they usually take this double form naturally. I don’t think conceptual work has to be stiff, or that playful work should lack substance. I generally try to create work that combines head and heart.

 picture-10“When the Lights Go Out,” for Beautiful/Decay Apparel

Can you talk about your three designs for Beautiful/Decay, “Elevation,” “Super Nova” and “When the Lights Go Out?” What was this process like, what did you enjoy most about designing for a t-shirt?

It was fun to transform my work into something wearable. I tried to do graphics that had a sense of depth, motion and detail. For the elevation t-shirt I used a display font that I have made. I had not found a good place to use it in before, but it seemed perfect to spell out Beautiful Decay on a t-shirt!


Elevation, for Beautiful/Decay Apparel

I love your pattern “Fellowship” based on secret societies—what are some of the symbols you used and how did you organize this work?

I did this pattern for a group show about fellowships. I decided to approach it from an angle of exclusion rather than inclusion, therefore secret societies. I have used symbols associated with mysticism and groups such as the freemasons.  When I work with patterns it’s usually a matter of finding/creating shapes and imagery that work with the theme and then I weave then together. I generally really like working with patterns, I like the notion of endlessness in repeat patterns. 


What projects are you currently working on?

I just finished an animated short film. I’m currently painting a mural, designing a book about artistic research projects and will soon exhibit paper sculptures in Stockholm.

Who are some of your favorite design heros?

Ettore Sottsass
El Lissitzky
John Maeda
Peter Saville

For more of Clara’s work, visit her website here

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