Portrait of an island – facing paradise & disasters during the pandemic
Claudie Linke is an artist, illustrator and animator, with a passion for writing and music. Whenever possible, she combines her various interests in her work. Linke was born 1979 in Germany, now she is based between Bali and the Alps. Currently she’s working on an animated graphic novel which will be released as NFT in 2022.
Linke finished art school at the age of 39. She changed her career path rather late in life. She first studied economics and was working for many years in several tech and travel start-ups, while always pursuing diverse creative projects on the side. One day though, when things fell apart, again, she decided it’s enough & time to commit to her real passion – the arts.
Soon after she got recognition from several awards in Illustration, currently long-listed (3rd time) for the World Illustration Awards 2021, while the judging continues over the summer.
Jack Of Diamonds, 2021, NFT
While most of her work specializes on dense story telling, often conveying complex topics such as society (see The Wild West or Arcadia), history or web3 philosophy, “The Playing Cards” are a bit different. Composition and messages are much more simple. However, the 16 cards all play together to portray Bali as the sum of its cards, in visuals and sounds. The sum – much bigger than its individual elements. An island metaphor for what all humankind experienced during the pandemic. When it was a universal feeling to realize how one man can do nothing at all.
Queen Of Hearts, 2021, NFT
The recent pandemic provided too much inspiration. And asked for action. During the crisis, Linke found herself stranded on Bali. The ongoing disaster hit the islands hard, as 80% of its income relies on tourism. According to the Worldbank, an additional 8 mio Indonesians fell into severe poverty since March 2020. Which, in the case of Bali, means people struggle to cover the basic needs: Food. Rice, in the case of Bali. Also, there is a huge trash problem in Indonesia. The annual rainy season usually shines a sad light on the sheer volume of trash, when the rivers drift all that rubbish into the ocean. But the last wet spell was incredibly hard, the beaches were littered with plastic, all over.
Ace Of Spades, 2021, NFT
Linke came across a great emergency relief program from a Balinese local, Made Janur Yasa, called the „Plastic Exchange“: Made came up with the idea that people in need can collect plastic and exchange it for rice. Linke found the idea to treat plastic as a „currency for rice“ interesting, and also the values of the program, around community, the individual’s dignity & independence a great analogy to the crypto culture. Hence, ten percent of NFT proceeds go to the Plastic Exchange. Up until now (4 of 16 playing cards released), the donations bought 723 kg of rice, which translate into food for 4 people for 723 days. More to come!
Jack Of Clubs, 2021, NFT
While she first focused on Illustration in the first years of her creative career, NFTs and “free art” opened doors into something new and even more divine. In her case, the possibility to cross borders, combining digital paintings, animation and her music production. A magic ticket to create whole new worlds, something she’s always dreamt of. For Linke, the ultimate tool for storytelling.
Arcadia, 2020, NFT
What she finds alluring about the multidisciplinary approach is that, from the very beginning of brainstorming, she can plan to add even more layers to her stories, sometimes complementary, from time to time conflicting. Also, she constantly transfers what she learns in one discipline into the other realm. Music, painting, writing and animation are somewhat similar languages, but very different in their capacity and how they impact emotions, psyche and mind. Linke is fascinated by the thought of involving various senses, especially while working in the digital world, which is too often despised as “cold”. The playground is endless and the future will be even more exciting with VR, the Metaverse and all that. Sometimes she would add a second level of meaning with the music (as seen in Jack Of Diamonds, when the music tells a second, more secret story. The visuals show a dancer, as a symbol of balinese rich culture and its specific form of hindu religion. The music starts typically balinese but then picks up on the arrival of early islam in Bali, which arrived in the form of trade & sailors. About how hinduism and islam peacefully co-exist in Indonesia, most of the time …). In other works, she opens up a meditative space with the sound in order to give more space for thoughts, by using certain rhythms and frequencies which might talk to certain energy fields in our bodies. An infinite potential, but also a decent amount of questions coming up in the process. Which sounds cause certain emotions? How do colors sound?
Claudie Linke, courtesy of the artist