Talking Foundation with Katla Karlsdottir

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PCA sits down with first-year student Karla Karlsdottir to discuss the Foundation program and her life in Paris.

Where are you from and where did you grow up?
I am from Iceland, both my parents are Icelanders, but I was born in Denmark, where I lived the 5 first years of my life. Then we moved back to Iceland, later we lived in Spain for six months, then back to Denmark, and now my family has settled in Belgium. I speak three languages, Icelandic, Danish and English.

What made you interested in studying art in higher education in Paris?
I come from an artistic background, my mother is a full-time artist, and I have always loved being surrounded by anything related to art. It is when studying in Brussels that I had the opportunity to focus on art, in the IB program. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to study, but I knew I wanted to specialize in art. Why Paris? I wanted to experience something new, Paris is a city where art is everywhere. My friend is from Paris, and recommended I looked for art schools in her city, this is how I found PCA.

What has been the most fulfilling or enriching class/project?
It is difficult to say, I am learning so many new things, every class is teaching me a lot. I really enjoy the drawing class, as well as the “City as a Studio” course: it is giving me the freedom to come up with my own ideas, and pushing me to expand my thinking, deepen my research.

What inspires you about Paris?
I am very inspired by environments in general: I get a lot from looking at architecture, there is beauty everywhere you look, so anything I look at can inspire me. The environment I live in has a big impact on me: I am happy when it is beautiful!

On a normal weekday, what is your life like as a PCA student?
I wake up early, walk to school, which takes me 20 minutes. After school I go home and work for about two hours. When I have time afterwards I go out for walks. I just walk randomly, unless I know of an exhibition that I want to see.

Do you mingle with peers in different departments?
It takes me a long time to get to know people, I am not very social in a way, so I don’t really mingle with students from other departments. It took me a while to get into the group dynamic, but I have friends in my class now!

What was the biggest challenge you faced and overcame? Not only related to academia but life in Paris as well?
Moving away from my family and having to learn to be independent was definitely the most difficult when coming to Paris. It was a growing process that can not be avoided though, and I am glad I made that choice.

Have you ever been homesick? If so, how did you overcome this?
I have a hard time explaining why, but when I am homesick it is Spain that I miss, even though I only lived there 6 months, and when I was a child. I think that the context made it quite magical, living in a tiny village on a mountain, which is probably why it stuck with me. Iceland is a big part of me, who I am, but I don’t miss it, I carry it inside of me. So when I am homesick for Spain, I think of my resolutions to one day learn the language and move there.

Where is your favorite hang out in Paris?
I don’t have a favorite place, but I love my neighborhood, Montmartre, and hanging out at the Sacré Coeur and look at the amazing panoramic view.

Katla, I heard you just won the PCA side of the Eurostar competition organized by both Central Saint Martins and Paris College of Art, congratulations! Can you tell us a little about your project?
I painted my boyfriend’s face and mine. I was looking at my environment, who is inhabiting my space, and whose space I am inhabiting, on a large scale like Paris, or smaller, like my own apartment. I see life differently than most people, I see patterns. I started working on the contrasts between my boyfriend and I: skin color, culture, religion…The idea evolved into my final piece, where I was thinking of people and what they think when I walk into their space? Even though two things (the houses in my project) can look outwardly the same, they can be very different inside. The two houses hang from the ceiling so people can stand under each one of them with their head in, and see the inside, like they are standing inside my thoughts, seeing my perspective, which are represented by patterns. -Katla Karlsdottir, PCA Foundation Student

Learn more about the Inhabit Project and Katla’s submission.

Published: February 17th, 2016 11:59AM