Jil-Laura Kloberg is an artist. freelance graphic designer and art director who we are beyond inspired to collaborate with on the design of Dkoko’s brand new t-shirts, made from sustainably sourced fabrics. We chatted to Jil-Laura about her feminine-inspired, detail-oriented drawings and illustrations and got the inside scoop into life as an artist living her creative passion through her latest illustration and design project, Tropia.  

Jil Koberg from Tropia designing our new Dkoko tshirts

We are absolutely mesmerized by your art, its feminine undertones and original mastery of detail. Could you tell us a bit about your origins as an artist and the evolution of your style?

Thank you so much, I’m happy you like it. :)

I have always had a very detailed artistic style. I like to get into maximum detail and work on textures with lines of various shapes, which ultimately has come to define my style over the years. Since I was little, I have felt inspired by the tropical southern world - I have been deepening into it and transforming my art until I created my own paradise world where I feel most at home.

I have been a creator for many years in the world of surf and skate, with a looser, more pop-culture style, but the name and idea for Tropia have always been with me and on my mind.

I’ve also added many years of experience in publicity agencies as art director and graphic designer, which gives that graphic touch to my work. I suppose my style has been maturing little by little along with me toward becoming what it is now. I feel complete and satisfied with my current style, and now I love seeing and understanding that a defined artistic style is a long and slow process we have to go through as artists. 

Jil Laura Kloberg artist from Tropia in her home in Canary Islands where she gets her inspiration 

Where do you draw your greatest inspiration for your art + unique designs?

I have an obsession with sketchbooks of different sizes and types of paper, and I always have one with me no matter where I go. It’s a habit I’ve had since I was a little,  and I don’t feel comfortable leaving the house without one of my sketchbooks. I usually draw in different places, often in cafés near the beach. I like to drink something while I draw. But the truth is that I create most of my visible work in my studio, because that's where I feel most comfortable and have everything available to me that I need to create.  

What are some of the deeper messages you seek to convey and inspire through your work?

I am a very nostalgic and romantic person, and that’s why I love to dig into the past. I am inspired by mystery and magic, though I feel that in our present day many of the mythologies and positive aspects of religion have been lost that once helped human beings better understand our existence and our own mystery. There is great cultural richness in ancestral polytheism that we should recover for an indispensable reason in these times of environmental crisis: The vital relationship necessary between human beings and nature, in which ancestral gods and goddesses serve as a bridge for that connection. I want to be a part of this recovery of our gods and goddesses of the past and offer my grain of sand through my art. 

 Inspiration for the design of Dkoko's new tshirts from Tropia

We LOVE the artwork you created for the new Dkoko T-shirts. Can you tell us about your artistic process in creating this custom design? 

And I have loved the project with you! In this type of work, there is always a first phase of research about the brand/client and their origins. With Dkoko, I wasn’t lacking for inspiration in Costa Rica, a place that inspires me deeply for its exotic and diverse nature. I was also given some concrete inspiration, like to include the tropical almond tree in the design. When the client is pretty clear on what they want, that always helps.

When I have clarity on which elements to include in the drawing, I start with the looser drawings to determine the structure of the illustration, more so in the case of a concrete application like a T-shirt design where the space is limited. My strokes are all done by hand on paper and later digitalized. Lastly, I give it color on the computer to allow for the the possibility of easily changing and testing different colors according to the client’s taste.    

Tropia custom art for Dkoko tshirts in Dream

How do your personal connections to nature, ancient wisdom and divine femininity show themselves in your art?  

Learning about our goddesses and wise women from the past, and from all types of different cultures, I have realized that they all offer something essential toward forming the great UNI-ty of the UNI-verse. Ultimately, we have something in our being from all of the goddesses created by our ancestors. We go through very distinct changes, phases and stages during our life where we lack different strengths and energies, and where our personality becomes affected and changed. In my case, art has always helped me overcome these difficult stages and represent strong women who face everything with the help of their connection to nature that gives them everything they need.

Tropia's Amazing art from Jil Laura Kloberg

What are your greatest challenges in life as an artist? How do you stay resilient in pursuing your passion for art?

Well it may sound a bit raw, but being able to pay all my bills like everybody else and still have energy and time to create every day is a real challenge. Art is not always seen as a job in itself, and it’s challenging to get to a point of earning a salary with art. Luckily my passion for art is born within me and comes naturally; I don’t have to force it. The need to create comes from within me, and when I’m not creating I’m not happy. For me, creating is a necessity. The passion is felt and is birthed on its own. 

Tropia + Dkoko Tshirt in Sustainable Organic Cotton and bamboo fabric in Jungle

What does a day in your life as an artist look and feel like?  

To maintain a certain level of economic sustainability, and also to continue investing in my artistic project Tropia, I work as a freelance designer and art director aside from being an illustrator. I have the privilege of having freedom in my work schedule as a freelancer, and I try to combine my workdays with brief moments that bring me pleasure - like a quick dip in the ocean, because luckily I have it nearby; or sipping a delicious coffee outside the studio to get me out and about.

But truthfully, I spend so many hours sitting in front of the computer or drawing that I have to balance it out with exercise and a social life. I very much appreciate and need my moments alone to get inspired and create, which are predominant in my day to day. So when the weekend comes, I have a social life and love to go out and dance and have fun with my friends, or escape into nature.

Can you share some words of wisdom with us about your approach to art + creativity?

For me, art and creativity are like the cure for everything. To CREATE is to put into action from an emptiness, from something that has to be built and doesn’t yet exist. To create something new for the world that offers us something positive, or at least moves something in us. To create visual messages that are usually much more effective than the messages we read.

I believe we all have the power to create within ourselves, and no one should be afraid of creating. I don’t see art as simply possessing the talent of knowing how to draw, for example, but rather having an energy that is born from within us to create, and we can all feed that energy with simple action. I didn’t always know how to draw either, but the tireless energy that is born from within me makes me want to learn and explore a little more each day.

Tropia + Dkoko tshirt in sustainable organic cotton and bamboo

Check out Jil's website Tropia here to see more of her amazing work.

Interview written by Tara Ruttenberg