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Art that highlights the depth of the ocean plastic problem Leave a comment

About 71% of the earth´s surface is covered by oceans. They produce over half of the oxygen on our planet and are home to over one million species of animals and even more plants. They are also the key regulators of the climate.

It is safe to say that every living thing on Earth is dependent on the health of our oceans, but tragically estimates indicate that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish. That is unless we seriously change our habits and the way we handle our waste.

The 2021 edition of Kånken Art aims to increase awareness around these problems, and also hopes to inspire change. After two successful annual releases, Kånken Art ’21 is the third edition and has a clear mission to draw attention to the problem of ocean plastics.

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Launching on June 8, 2021, which happens to be World Ocean Day, the Kånken Art ’21 products will feature a design in two colour palettes: Ocean Surface and Ocean Deep. The unique twist was developed by Swedish illustrator and animator Linn Fritz, who took the opportunity to work with Fjällräven in order to help generate more attention about plastic waste and the health of our oceans.

“I feel very privileged to have been given this opportunity to create an art pattern for Kånken that so many people will be able to see. I wanted to bring some awareness to one of the biggest concerns facing our oceans and our planet today, and therefore my Kånken Art became an abstract pattern inspired by pieces of plastic.”

Linn grew up in the northern countryside of Sweden, just outside of Sundsvall, where she spent a lot of time in nature. She loves spending time outdoors with a very active lifestyle, including swimming, fishing, hiking and skiing with her family and friends. As she says, “Being outside in nature is a break from everyday life. It helps me to relax, clear my head and find inspiration for work”.

Today Linn lives in the UK, and she is also very fond of the nature there: “The UK has incredibly beautiful nature that feels very similar to Sweden. Living in London, I do not spend as much time in nature as I would ideally like to, but that has definitely made me appreciate it so much more”.

“The UK has incredibly beautiful nature that feels very similar to Sweden. Living in London, I do not spend as much time in nature as I would ideally like to, but that has definitely made me appreciate it so much more”.

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Specifically, Linn lives in East London where she works independently, creating clean and precise imagery for a wide range of commercial clients. She is also co-founder of Panimation, which is, “a community of equality-driven women, trans, and non-binary friends aiming to connect and support each other within the gaming industry”.

In London, Linn mainly works as a digital artist with a lot of quick turnaround projects and tight deadlines. Working with Fjällräven on Kånken Art ’21 however, was not a typical project. In fact, it was a partnership with perfectly aligned beliefs. “We share a strong value: that our future and the future of nature are intertwined. Therefore, we need to take care of it better. We need to value what we have before it’s too late.”

The partnership with Fjällräven also allowed Linn to work more methodically and explore new creative horizons. As she describes it, “From the very first introduction email … we have always had an easy-going and friendly relationship. It’s been a very pleasant journey to develop this artwork together with someone that listens, understands and explains their feedback in a very beneficial way”.

The Kånken Art ’21 project was also differentiated from Linn’s usual workflow in that it was the first time she created a graphic design for something that would be printed on a product.

“For this project, I worked a little bit differently, using cut-out plastics as a reference, rather than people. I sketched using Photoshop before finalising the pattern in Illustrator. I had a generous timeline of about two months, which allowed me to revisit old sketches and rediscover new ideas. It also allowed me to step back, breathe, and shift my focus onto something else, before coming back to the pattern with fresh eyes.”

The result was two variations of the pattern. Ocean Surface has a light blue background with white and pink “plastic” shapes strewn throughout. Ocean Deep features a dark blue background with lighter blue shapes.

Linn found her inspiration and motivation from nature. Or, rather, the challenges it faces.

“Nature is not always that easily accessible when living in a city. I try to visit the seaside in the south of England as often as I can, which is a place where you can see a lot of destruction.

The way the small pieces of colourful toxic plastic are floating around in our blue oceans made me become aware of the fact that we are slowly killing the oceans. And the fact that plastic degrades so slowly, over hundreds and thousands of years, made me realise that I wanted to bring more awareness and create a pattern around this important topic. So, my Kånken became an abstract pattern inspired by pieces of plastic. It is a gentle reminder for people of the problem every time they see the bag.”

“I hope Fjällräven will continue to use this platform for good and create awareness for different environmental causes in the future.”

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As you can imagine, seeing the Kånken products with her pattern printed on it for the first time gave her a great sense of accomplishment. A feeling that was enhanced knowing that with Kånken Art ’21, Fjällräven will team up with organisations like The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics and The 2 Minute Foundation to create awareness around ocean plastics

“I hope Fjällräven will continue to use this platform for good and create awareness for different environmental causes in the future.”

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