Posted Sep 6th 2004 by

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An interview with
BARD HOLE STANDALwords by , September 2004

Bard Hole Standal is a London-based Norwegian designer and illustrator who took some time out to chat to us about the recent Wear It With Pride exhibition, being Norwegian and his plans for Total World Domination. Enjoy…

Hello and welcome to TC. It’s quite early in the morning here and it’s raining. How is your day?

Well. I overslept till like 11, ate some bananas, then I did a few hours work and slept some more… Damn the sweet etheral release of my couch… In other words, a very productive day!

From your website I see that you’re planning total world domination for the Nov/Dec period of this year. That’s quite a tight schedule, do you think you can meet the deadline?

Oh absolutely, my army of headless giraffes have wiped out large parts of the Southern hemisphere and are en route for the Northern bit, and will be here by next week. You may also have noticed the recent surge of “natural disasters” in certain tropical areas, which are a direct result of a deal I made with Mephistopheles himself. It’s just a matter of months now till you’re all my puny little slaves!

Mohahaha…Moo…Mooohaaahaaaaa! (i’m trying out a new evil laugh, been practising for months. is it scary enough?)

Changing Relations

Screenshot from the Changingrelations video

You’ve also been involved in the Wear It With pride exhibition. How has that been going?

WIWP Unplugged was absolutely amazing. Darren (WIWP master) had it all planned out, and contracted the greatest of the great to do the walls and the submissions. I even got my very own fireplace for my three of my toys! Suffice to say, it became the Ultimate Exhibition in the History of London!! and as soon as I finish that whole world domination gig, I’m going to make it the Most Ultimate Exhbition in the History of the World!! as well.

You sell a lot of your work on your site. Are you sad when you have to ship off a canvas to one of your customers?

Yeah, the ones that I’ve done by hand I always feel a certain amount of family-kinship with, so it’s very hard for me to give it away to a stranger. Especially the toys.. I’d rather they’d all stay in my bed and keep the demons away, but I guess other people should be able to feel the gentle comfort of their anti-demon grace.

Which illustration are you most proud of drawing?

I think the Dinoboy is my current favorite. He’s quite advanced compared to my other illustrations, and it surprised me that I could do things like that.

Your work reminds me of the illustrator Pete Fowler, which artists/designers have influenced the way you draw?

Pete Fowler does vector-graphics too, yes, however he’s not the founding father of the vector style that so many people think. I guess he’s just the most obvious reference point for the style due to his massive success. I’ve always drawn a lot of inspiration from mixed mediums such as comic books, classical literature, animation and graphic designers, which is probably why I’m doing characters using the digital tools of a designer with the names of demons.

Let’s do the whole name-thing:

Peter Str?ɬ?m (, Jhonen Vasquez, Fredrik R?ɬ?mteland(?), Neil Gaiman, Masamune Shirow, H.P. Lovecraft, Friends with You, Brainbox, Roman Dirge, Katsuhiro Otomo, MK12, Gmunk, Studio Ghibli, Mark Romanek, Edgar Allen Poe.

Stupid Devil board

Stupid Devil board

What brought you to the UK from Norway? And what are the best and worst things about being an aspiring designers/illustrator in Norway?

I got in at the BA degree at the London College of Printing, which was my plan since I was like 14. Well actually, I wanted to go to the US, but their tuition fees are crazy, so I settled for the second best thing. Being an aspiring designer/illustrator in Norway has the typical disadvantages, such as the grown-in, stoic and conservative band of 40-50 year old monkeys that run the advertising/designer world and that are uninterested in working with anyone below the age of 70.

However, there’s a growing generation of youngsters quite eager to take over their action, so it’s just a matter of time before we rid ourselves of their evil simian reign. Oh and when we do, we’re deporting them to Russia, making certain that their only hope for reunion with Norway will be through mail-order bride catalogues.

What are your favourite things about living in the UK?

My amazingly gorgeous and cheap flat! It’s like 50 metres from the Thames and the sunsets are so nice…

Other than that, your cheap liquor, your cheap Coke and your large amount of imported Scandinavian women. I really appreciate the fact that you guys went to all the trouble of shipping them over here just for me!

How did you get your first work when you came to England?

I haven’t really had any English clients yet, since most of my work is contracted through my Norwegian freelance connections (which I understand pay a lot more than the UK ones do). I have however had a few offers from a few companies in London, mainly about full-time employment though.

Music is always vital when doing work, what tunes get your creative juices flowing?

Ah…Music… I can’t design without it. Genre-wise I listen to rock (none of that pansy soft-rock), oldies rock, black metal, general metal, industrial, electronica, electronic jazz and whatever music other people label as ‘alternative’.

Big must-listen-to’s are: Ulver (electronic atmospheric progressive trip-ish), Tool (progressive metal), David Bowie, Nine Inch Nails, Xploding Plastix (electronic big beat jazz), Dark Tranquillity and Pink Floyd.

Football Heroes

Contribution to the Football Heroes book

I see you like to collect mementos from your travels. What’s the best memento you’ve ever picked up? We can send you a Beatles picture as a memento of Liverpool if you like.

I always want my website to be more than a portfolio. The sites that I truly enjoy are the ones where the artist opens up, and lets you in to his life, where he shows you his friends, where he works and what makes him happy besides designing. So that’s why I’ve got my mementos section.

The best one I’ve got is the picture of myself and a certain German designer whom I’ve been friends with for what seems like an eternity now. It was really cool to meet him in real life, and we had a great time in his hometown of Essen.

The Beatles pic would be cool.

So what’s up next (beyond world domination)?

School starts in a few weeks, so I’ll be busy with that the next three months, I’ll probably do some new plush toys soon, I’m working on the branding of my toy company Stupid Devil, and I’m also doing a book called “How to Gain Inner Peace Through Total World Domination” which I hope to finish by the end of the year.

Other than that, I’m working in a new collective called Sambuki Social ( with Darren from WIWP, Emma from Anarkitty, Nick from Scuff Dept. and Alex from SleepyKids, and we’ve got some exhibition things planned in London…

Finally, what’s the one thing everybody should do today?

Go buy/download songs by the bands I mentioned in the music-question! Especially Ulver – free mp3s at, which just happens to be designed by me!

Check out more of Bard’s work and his progress in taking over the world by visiting


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