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name: Kirsten
surname: Sjursen-Lien
year of birth: 1995
country: USA


A Portrait of Myself as a Child
by Zakeno


Q1: When did you start making art?
To be perfectly typical, I’ve been making art since I was quite young. I think my focus on art/animation definitely intensified in middle school when I got into the Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack and Coraline, though.

Q2: What does inspire you?
Lots of things inspire me! I grew up in the mountains of California, where every things a bit backwoods, so nature and country attitudes feed my work quite a bit. Aside from that, I’m way into mythology and history and usually listen to history podcasts while I work. And of course I love books, film, and comics.

Q3: What are your techniques?
My techniques are constantly evolving, which is a clever way of saying ‘I don’t even know my own techniques’. I usually use a lot of watercolor and digital stuff, though.

Q4: What is the main idea or feeling behind your works?
I’m still discovering myself artistically, so I’m not really sure. Nature, loss, and personal monsters seem to be on my mind a lot, but I’ve also made a film about a magical duck girl so really I’m all over the map at this point.

Q5: What is the main color of your art and why?
I’m guilty of using a lot of warm color filters. Without much purpose other than I like warm colors. Oop.

Q6: What would you improve about your work and why?
A lot of things! I think my pacing in animation is a little weak and I’m hoping to improve upon that. I also want to branch out more and start exploring more themes that I haven’t really touched on yet. And of course I’m always improving my drawing skills- anatomy, perspective, color sense, design sense, etc.

Q7: Do you have any project for the future?
Lots of projects! So many projects! Only some of them planned. I have a summer animation project I’m looking forward to. Other than that, my two CalArts first year films will be posted online in about two weeks, so that’s exciting!

Q8: Describe yourself with 3 words capturing the essence of Zakeno.
Oh, man. Okay.
1. radical
2. sarcastic
3. sleepy

Q9: Show us (link) your very first work. Describe it from techniques till feelings.
*insert pained moaning sounds here*
This HERE is the oldest image on my deviantart. It is my neopet Xastet. She was a ninja for no particular reason other than Naruto was popular with my friends. It’s like a ‘if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?” situation. Just with ninjas and neopets.

Q10: What did change from your first work till now?
I draw less ninjas, among other less spectacular things.

Q11: What is art for you? Escaping from reality or the essence of life?
To me, art is a means of telling stories. This is why I chose to go into the animation industry. I love stories far more than I love art itself, even if that might sound a bit silly considering I am an artist and I draw constantly. It’s the mood and acting and staging of a drawing that really sells it for me- the way these capture life are so radical.

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