Designer and deliberate wanderer, Tordis Kayma, creates beautiful atmospheric pieces from his adventures off the beaten path.
We think Tordis might just be a tree whisperer. No matter what the weather or the landscape, Tordis captures the many magical secrets of nature. Read on to find out more.
Where do you call home? Have the places you lived had an impact on your art?
I live in Berlin, but I grew up near a national park in the middle of Germany, with foggy valleys and wild-romantic forest landscapes. I have strong bonds to this place, home is a feeling. My passion for nature started at a young age, originated in childhood and developed into a lifelong pursuit. I spent my early years of life playing in the woods, near the places I used to live with my parents.
What are your preferred art tools?
My Imagination and my sensibility.
How would you describe your work in 7 words or less?
The foggy mystery that lies beyond.
“I’m not a book or digital/e-type learner. I’ve always been learned from doing and trying things on my own. Making mistakes from time to time, starting over and over again. And most importantly, learning from other professionals in person, one-to-one, the analog way.”
When do you remember photography becoming an integral part of your life?
Started in my early twenties with learning darkroom techniques (making prints and developing film in black & white and color) and my first manual SLR. Yes, I’m the old school analog guy who loves the imperfect look of photographic art prints with grit and grain, scratches, dust and light leaks.
For more than 15 years, I worked in the field of photography as a freelancer and as an assistant to photographers who had a focused field of work in people – celebrity and musicians mainly. I’ve also worked as a photo editor for music and culture magazines.
Would you share some tips with our artist community on how to self-promote?
Unless you don’t consider yourself a company, a brand or have millions of followers on social media: Just don’t overdo it ;) Less is more. Don’t put yourself under stress.
Is there an artwork you’re most proud of? Why?
Yes, it’s a not planned shot. Just the right moment and time, the right weather and light, and a bit of coincidence. Hiking the wrong path, I found the foggy sunrise scenery of “In My Other World”. A beautiful little valley, filled with morning mist in just the right amount to make the treetops and the rays of the sun visible. I’m thankful for this moment.
What is your favorite thing about being an artist?
I don’t consider myself an artist. I feel more like I’m a designer, wanderer and nature lover who transforms the beauty and majesty of the forest landscapes and foggy mountain into atmospheric pieces. Giving them a look and feel which make them the places you want to be. Those places that speak to you and your soul: calm, quiet, peaceful, and mysterious.
“I’ve always been learning from doing and trying things on my own, making mistakes from time to time, starting over and over again.”
When is the best time of day for you to create new artwork and why?
As I’m a real creator, taking all the photos myself is the first and most important part. There is a lot of work involved in traveling to visit the places in Germany I love to hike and wander. There are hours of driving, strolling about the woods and hiking with a heavy photo equipment backpack. Waiting for the right weather or the right light in autumn and winter, getting cold and wet, getting attacked by wild boars, ticks and mosquitos in summer – but it’s worth it. However, getting up at 5 am in the morning is still a problem, I have to admit.
The image editing process and computer work is the second part of the process. I prefer to work during the daytime with some inspirational music in the background. I’m not a night owl.
What’s been the hardest lesson you’ve learned while creating a successful career?
If you have collected enough practice and knowledge before and already know how to earn money and survive as a freelancer – skip art school. Some semesters at a Berlin-based art school were a waste of time for me regarding the content, but it’s always valuable to exchange ideas with other students and do projects outside of school. I’ve learned everything I need to know to make my way as a freelancer outside art school, but that’s my personal experience and view.
Professionally, what is your goal?
I try to keep the balance between my personal needs to inhale nature and the challenge to live in a big city. Traveling to forest landscapes, planning nature walks and hikes for having the perfect mixture of photographic work and relaxation is my goal. Creating my landscape designs is a process, which gives me a deep sense of calm and makes me quiet. It’s a good compensation to get the focus back on the essentials.
Stop by Tordis Kayma’s Redbubble shop to see more of his work. Share your comments for Tordis below.