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Resident Spotlight Linda Toigo

In a nutshell, what do you do?

LT: I work with paper and my main media is books.

How did you get here?

LT: I studied architecture, working as an urban planner and then studied graphic design, changing scale radically. I went into book design and somehow started destroying books instead of creating. When studying as an architect/urban planner, you make decisions to alter the landscape. The scale is too big and the time lag is vast, you don't really get to see the impact. So I downscaled, to see an immediate result of what I had in mind, creating my own worlds. Moving to a personal narrative of landscape instead of real world alteration.

Tell us more about working with paper...

LT: Paper is very ephemeral, a vulnerable material used in traditional ceremonies for burning. Yet equally books bring knowledge from century to century, in that way paper is arguably more resistant than digital media. When I produce a series, I start with a cut out, then digitalise it, before finalising the handmade work. Working with light and shadows you can transform a literary object into an image or illustration.

My upcoming book art exhibition 'Guides to Elsewhere' opens 21st April 2105 at the Westminster Reference Library, copies of discarded Lonely Planets are transformed into imaginary places.

A day in the life of Linda?

LT: For this project, I began with the research. Everytime I approach a different item or piece, there's lots of thinking time, thoughts, sketches and book reading, and then finally the carving. It's a time consuming activity, I listen to audio books. I see people coming in wet from the rain, coming and leaving, whilst totally unaware of what's going on outside.

What's it like being a freelancer in East London?

LT: It's very stimulating to be in an environment like this, I've been looking for it for a while. You can see people around you who are focussed on business goals and they seem to be able to achieve what they have in mind. With creative entrepreneurship, there is a responsibility to earn a living out of what you are doing. You will never really feel complete until you fulfil what you are doing.

Best thing about the Heartspace?

LT: It's much better than working at home, more inspiring, sparkling and magical. Sometimes it's frustrating because you think: 'they are doing so well'. Sharing a space with people who have different time requirements is very sustainable and fresh. It's a big help for people who can only afford to invest a little on a working space.

What do you like about coworking?

LT: You need a specific space to leave and create a mess. If you are at home you're not able to switch to the practice time. It's refreshing being around people in their own rhythms, working at different times and with different medias.

Most extraordinary project?

LT: I created a full track of animated interventions during the duration of a theatre show: 'Head, Bodies, Legs'. I was digitalising my paper work, I enjoy mixing animation and paper so that shapes interacts with actors.

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