DECADE: 10 Years Anniversary Exhibition

Story online since:  06.10.2009 / 01:12:08

With the Decade celebrations coming soon, the idea to contact the two working artists behind Trine + Kim Design Studio came to me as naturally as my own saliva. Before sharing the conversation I had with the befriended love couple and creative duo, I think it would be kind of nice to know what some other people, who actually worked with Trine Paulsen and Kim Sølve, wanted to say about their experience with and impressions of the Trine + Kim Design Studio's outstanding creativity and work ethic. The funny part is how those other people are musicians we all know and respect. Solefald, Mayhem and Enslaved are indeed three AGM esteemed bands we have more than once featured on our webzine, so it will be interesting to read their testimonies as to get in the mood so to speak. The interview with Trine and Kim will hereafter follow, so let me shut down for now. Bzzz.


"Black metal album covers. Ballet, circus and ladies' fashion. Golden diamonds shimmer when Oslo designers Trine and Kim celebrate their first decade.

If it is dark and elegant, you may safely assume that Trine and Kim designed it: record covers, posters and flyers for clients so diverse as Ulver, Mayhem, Darkthrone, Pain Solution and the Norwegian Opera. For ten years Trine and Kim have provided the art world with darkly radiant layouts from their design studio in Oslo East.

One can sum up the work of Trine and Kim in one word: craftsmanship. Be it logos, illustration or photography, the master hand is just as steady. With Norwegian Black Metal as their aesthetic point of departure, Trine and Kim have drawn, etched, painted and engraved their way across multiple genres and art forms. The golden diamond adorning the front page of the literary review Vagant is emblematic in this respect: its simple lines spark the desire of the eye.

After ten years in the business the designers are still hungry: "Decade" is celebrated with the release of two records and a book! There will be a retrospective featuring album covers from Trine and Kim's career, with limited edition prints available for purchase. Works from Trine and Kim's art projects "Psykosedyr"("psychothic plush animals", roughly) and "Unreality" will also be screened.

"Decade" takes place from October 30th to November 1st 2009 at the Podium cultural centre in Oslo (local address: Hausmans gate 34, ten minutes' walking distance from the Oslo S train station). The vernissage on Friday 30th is a closed event and thus requires preregistration."

Cornelius Jakhelln (Solefald, Sturmgeist, G.U.T.)

"It was great to collaborate with Trine and Kim. We gave them a pretty challenging task for the last Mayhem record called Ordo Ad Chao. When we met the first time to talk about the record I could not tell them really how to manifest "Order to the Chaos" in the artwork. But they just come out with a great idea of symbolism which worked very well; the whole band was very happy and impressed how they managed to combine minimalism and complexity, rustiness and purity, anti-masonic order and alienation... The Great Oppositions. It become a success and we could use some elements of the artwork even for the live performances later. Thank you guys and hails from Mayhem!"

Attila Csihar (Mayhem, SUNN 0))), voidovvoices, etc.)

"We met Trine and Kim quite late in our motley career - our first cooperation was Trinacria's debut release Travel Now Journey Infinitely. On my journey towards this designer duo I had an epiphany when I realised how many of their album designs had impressed me without really noticing who stood behind them. It is herein their unabashed strength lies: they dive into the material they work with and form something new together with, and beyond the music. This talent is oddly enough unique - as many designers these days seem to work with the purpose of branding their own style on various different artists. It is obvious which design school of thought I lean towards. The work they did for Trinacria was a solid confirmation, and shortly after we teamed up again to collaborate on Enslaved's Vertebrae. If we get to have it our way this is only the beginning..."

Ivar S. Peersen (Enslaved, Trinacria, etc.)

I think there is been a lot happening at Trine + Kim Design Studio these last few weeks, with the upcoming Decade celebration. To begin with, how did this huge project come to life?

Kim. Early this year we were talking about the work we've done and that we were entering the year of our tenth anniversary as partners and collaborators. We felt 10 years deserved a celebration, and that's Decade's main reason and purpose.

What should the attendants be expecting, when it comes to the content of the exhibitions?

Kim. The heart of the event is the retrospective cover artwork exhibition. We have selected a number of artworks from our career that shows progression and variation. Fronts and inner sleeves are printed in large scale on art paper and mounted on black wooden boards. They will be for sale in limited editions.

We'll also release our self-published book "Decade" which features a large part of our cover artwork portfolio. This limited edition book will be hardback and about 160 pages and is soon available for pre-ordering. We will also sell shirts, prints and our own CD's.

There will also be a short performance by a yet to be announced project featuring prominent local musicians. Expect something theatrical and crude. Our friend Anders of local Death Industrial maestro Babyflesh will be DJ'ing throughout the evening.

Then there's the bar. Very important. We're hoping people will stay for a while. Make it memorable and a bit hazy round the corners.

[Turning to Trine Paulsen] Although the Psykosedyr project has been around for a little while already, I think that perhaps there still are many persons unfortunately ignorant of its nature. Would you first shed some light on the intentions behind Psykosedyr and the type of work and creativity it asks for?

Trine. Psykosedyr is a project where everything is allowed, a playground for me and my thoughts. Psykosedyr is about girls and their animals - the kaniinjas - fighter rabbit ninjas with "chameleon" skills. They can be whatever they want to, like a metal head or a nurse or a piece of chopped up meat or a sadomasochist or a super villain or just fuzzy weirdoes... In Norwegian "kanin" means rabbit and together with the word ninja I made a new word: Kaniinja.

Sometimes the Psykosedyr project is fulfilled with drawings or paintings, sometime handmade dolls or other things. There are no limits. Limitations suck.

There is even a music compilation, "Sex, Murder, Art", coming out under the name of Psykosedyr. What can you reveal about it and by which standards did you pick up the featured artists?

Trine. It all started with Joey Hopkins my dear and strange Myspace friend, he loved the Psykosedyr project and wanted to make music to it. Of course I allowed him to and then the compilation plans began. It must have been in 2007. Joey Hopkins made a funny and strange song - the perfect sound for my project and a good dose of total craziness! Sadly Joey died late last year. I hate it when good people die. Joey was a very cool person, the best Joey I know! The compilation is dedicated to him and my beloved cat Willbur - a gooooood cuddly friend for 18,5 years of my life.

I love all the songs on the compilation. It's a strange mix of artists. I like to think of it as the soundtrack to my Psykosedyr universe. The artists on the compilation are all friends of Kim and me, most of them are Norwegian except Joey Hopkins and Mister, whom are from the US.

Denture is a project by my dear friend Petter Berntsen (from Swarms, M, Virus and Audiopain), the track Non-Song has existed for a long time - it's a strange soft Asian world, very pink, very Petter, very suitable for Psykosedyr in every possible way. He is a genius and so much more than the bass player people know him for.

Fred Froi is edible! Two songs from Fred Froi are represented on the compilation. Dreamy nighttime music - I love it so much! He would be an intergalactic superstar if I had it my way.

After Joey's death I found Mister. I think of him as Joey's soul mate in music. Well, actually Kim found him because we had to try to get the original sound files from Joey's computer and Mister was his friend and the one who informed us about Joey’s passing... Mister’s music was perfecto for Psykosedyr, strange adventure game music...

Three Winters is Anders B. and Kim's project and is featured on the compilation with the coolest zombie kaniinja walk ever! It represents the dark side of Psykosedyr.

Zweizz, the strangest most out of control man I know have made the sickest, most intense song, almost Black Metal, but still not. On my most stressed out days this song is perfect for my head - it's Psykosedyr going mad... out of control... like Zweizz.

K100 is my boyfriend’s solo project, of course I have to start the compilation with the man in my life, the best boyfriend ever... The first song on the compilation is very sleepy like going into a trance... it proves that it is possible to sleep your way to the top!

Dagfinn Gløersen, another strange guy with very special musical skills. The world needs to hear his music.

There are many more artists of course, including Virus whom participates with their party song with lyrics by Zweizz and vocals by wolfie man Kris. And disco bass by Petter the Plenum.

There's more to this compilation than meets the ear. Buy it and find out!

What will you be presenting from Psykosedyr at the Decade event?

Trine. Psykosedyr will present handmade art (a series of drawings, paintings) from the Psykosedyr world, toy Kaniinjas and of course the compilation "Sex, Murder, Art" with matching merch.

[Turning to Kim Sølve] As far as I know, Unreality is becoming more and more concrete though it is shrouded in a mystery of its own as well. In general, what do you intend to accomplish with Unreality, both visually and musically?

Kim. Most people have their own demons to fight or befriend (or breed). Unreality is my way of dealing with mine. The work with Unreality is based on a special feeling, or sense of presence. In a way Unreality has been with me since I was a child, I just recently found a suitable name for it. Seen from outside Unreality functions foremost as an umbrella organization for Swarms, my solo project K100 and my images.

The visual part of Unreality is similar to the musical in terms of themes and mood. I often work from visual improvisations, semi-automatic drawings, symbolic objects and planned accidents and base much of the work on photography of friends and lovers, family and myself. The results mostly end up as rather unpleasant it seems. Just like my music.

"The Silver Hour" by Swarms was the first of Unreality's composed albums to have been presented to the public. What is in the pipeline at the moment; do you have some more unreal material coming up?

Kim. Indeed, the pipeline is almost jammed at the moment. I have two solo albums as K100 in production as we speak. One of them will be released on the Decade event 30 october.

"The Vault of Apparitions" is a sinister and calm album. Very intuitive and dark. I'm not sure if the tag 'ambient' fits or not. It's made from visits to desolate places, late night recording sessions and the northern shifts of seasons. I don't want to talk it to death. I believe titles like "False awakening", "No light" and "Flies in his smile" might say more about it than I am able to express myself. "The Vault of Apparitions" will be released in cooperation with belgian industrial connoisseur label Neuropa Records, also home of artists like Toroidh, Der Feuerkreiner and many more.

"The Feral Silence" is the sister album to Swarms' "The Silver Hour" which came out on Vendlus Records last year. One friend told me this album feels like it's sick and another friend told me he felt that something was watching and stalking him in his home while he listened to it. I think those comments pretty much sums up how I felt when making that album so I choose to leave my description at that.

For some of the upcoming Unreality releases from both K100 and Swarms I am collaborating with an extremely promising new label called Massfree Recordings. An enterprise still shrouded in mystery, even to me. Something to keep eyes and ears open for in the near future.

People interested in Unreality and my other musical work can visit my site at

What will you be presenting from Unreality at the Decade event?

Kim. I will exhibit a series of images. Mostly my signature faces, figures, and landscapes. I am still working late nights to finish them. There will be the release of the first album by K100. I will also have some limited edition prints, music releases and other goods for sale.

It would seem that Trine + Kim Design Studio has now established itself as one of the most respected design house in the world. If you had to sum up your past 10 years of conjoint work, what would you say?

Kim. These 10 years has been very important years of our lives. It's been hard, educational and fun. We have both changed and matured a lot and gained a lot of experience. We're still learning something every day.

Before closing in, of course I would like to know if you feel you will be able to do it for another 10 years...

Kim. Life is unpredictable and I like it that way. Keep it interesting, open-minded and live it hard.

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© Pictures by Jean-Emmanuel Artfield-Lautrec

Oliver Side

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