You could call him an illustrator, but really, this Danish creative is more of a visual jester. Rune Fisker’s taste for off-kilter perspective, comic book references and dramatic geometrical lines has made him a playful darling of global commercial clients like Wired Magazine and art aficionados alike. The best part? He doesn’t take himself to seriously, which we discovered when we talked to him about art, breakfast and surviving the apocalyptic Danish winter.

Interview by Jeroen Smeets

Artwork by Rune Fisker

How do you survive the long Danish winters?

My best advice is to go as far away from Denmark as possible, preferably to a warm beach where you are served an endless stream of piña coladas for five-six months. If that’s for some reason not possible, just forget that sunlight exists and accept that you are going to live in a world of darkness for a long, long time.

What is the first thing that you do in the morning when you wake up?

I very quickly make breakfast for our twin boys – they rule our household with tiny iron fists – before they have an I’m-so-hungry-I’m-about-to-die meltdown. Then, I make a very strong cup of coffee that can last me until I get to work (where I make another one right away.)

What does the day-to-day work process look like for you?

My day-to-day work life varies a lot since I do illustration work under my own name but also work in Benny Box, a motion graphics and animation studio I founded with my brother, Esben. A workday can consist of storyboarding, animating, or working on illustrations, or very unsexy things like getting the printer to work.

Tell us a bit more about Benny Box. How did this adventure begin?

We had worked together a lot over the years in the animation business and went to design school at the same time, so when we graduated it seemed like the obvious choice to do something together. This was also before the economic crisis, and a time when a lot of people wanted to be freelancers.
There are advantages and disadvantages to working with somebody you are that close to. On the plus side, we have a great shared visual aesthetic and work creatively really well together. On the minus side, there is the fact that we can piss each other off in seconds and don’t always filter what we say to each other as we would with others.

What is the balance between commissioned and non-commissioned work for you? 

Most of my time is spent doing commissioned work, but I try to squeeze as much personal work into the small pockets of time I have every once in a while.

What do you think about the illustration culture within Denmark? It seems like clients don’t use illustrations in their campaigns and work as much as in other countries.

You’re right: there isn’t a big tradition of using illustrations as much as you see in other countries. As an illustrator, I think it’s a bit sad that we don’t have a willingness to try something different every once in a while. On the other hand, we live in a tiny country with a tiny population, so it’s hard to argue that clients should take risks when the payoff is so uncertain.

Looking back over the last couple of years, how would you describe the development of your own style?

I used to make drawings that were much more cartoony and more about characters than overall composition, but it was a style that grew stale for me. So I started experimenting, moving in a new direction where I felt there were more possibilities for me to explore; where I can create pieces that have a story rather than just a big bunch of crazy, exaggerated characters.

It seems like that has also gotten you more into a tech and science kind of vibe. Is this a field you feel fits with you?

I think it’s a field where I’m comfortable, and I have a lot of fun working on those assignments. I don’t want to be put exclusively in the tech/science illustrator box, though, as I enjoy working with variety of different subjects.

What would be the ultimate job for you?

I would actually love to do illustrations for a novel. I know it’s not something that is used so much anymore, but I loved those kind of illustrations when I was a kid.