Introducing Tine Toftdahl Nielsen
Tine is our new Marketing Executive and we thought we’d welcome her into the team at Breed by telling you a little bit about her, and then giving her the opportunity to tell us a little more about herself and her background.
Here’s some top-line information on Tine – she’s originally from Denmark, being brought up in the countryside near the town of Kolding. She moved to Copenhagen in 2010 and lived and worked between there and London for a few years, after graduating in Fashion Design, Styling and Promotion from Middlesex University. Most recently she worked for the Bureau for Visual Affairs as a Project Manager, managing client relationships with the likes of SHOWstudio and Damien Hirst.
Prior to that she looked after social media for Everpress, the online marketplace which allows artists to create and sell their own t-shirt designs direct to customers. She also volunteered for Architects Without Borders, a not-for-profit organisation concerned with social justice and the social and environmental impact of architecture.
Over to Tine:
What first brought you to London?
After two years of travelling and assisting the stylist Sabina Shreder in New York, I felt my next move should involve some form of education. As the university fees at the time were a lot higher in New York than in the UK, I decided to apply for a university in London instead. I was 21 and rather lost, but felt that anything was possible, so the endless pool of creative opportunities that London provided seemed appealing.
Was it very different to Copenhagen?
London is different than most places because of its multiculturalism and its art and music history. In comparison to London, Copenhagen feels like a small town where everything is within a 20 minute bike ride; it’s slow-paced and you can’t avoid bumping into a familiar face. London and Copenhagen are great cities in very different ways and I feel it’s impossible to compare the two. At the time I moved to London, I felt like breaking away from everything I knew in order to meet new people, see new places and experience new things.
How did you come to study fashion design?
I have always loved sewing and ‘making’ so I had an idea of the direction I wanted to go in. I completed a short course in Fashion Making and Pattern Cutting at VERA – Skole for Kunst & Design (School of Art & Design) in Copenhagen prior to studying in London. We touched upon various techniques and creative exercises and I wanted to continue to experiment while also narrowing down my expertise and ‘finding myself’ in a creative context.
You seem to have an ongoing interest in design, having worked for architects, furniture upcyclers Goldfinger Factory, and Architects Without Borders. Do you have design as well as marketing skills yourself?
My marketing skills probably lie in my storytelling, in my search for relations and in my desire to communicate, whether it’s through words, visuals or design. Working with Goldfinger Factory and Architects Without Borders allowed me to combine an interest in design, a passion for social enterprising and the desire to give the project participants a voice.
How did you get into the marketing side?
I prefer to see things more fluidly and find the labelling difficult. I have worked with a lot of different people and my job descriptions have tended to form as I went along. I have been drawn to ways of interpreting and communicating stories and there is probably a hidden red thread throughout my past experiences, which will get clearer with time.
How were you aware of Breed before you applied for the position?
I recognised a lot of the represented artists from general research and from working at Everpress. However, what made Breed stand out from other agencies was an interview I read with Breed founder Olivia Triggs. Olivia spoke about representing artists whose work ethos she supports, the importance of communication and staying true to oneself without trying to conform, which are all values that resonate with me.
What are you most looking forward to about working with the artists?
I’m excited about getting to know the artists better and understanding their different incentives; we all have ideas and opinions on who we want to work with and where/how we want our work to appear and be perceived. And also it will be great to work with amazing artworks.
What do you feel you’ll bring to the agency?
Lots of positive energy and authenticity. Having operated within the realms of the creative industry in Copenhagen and London for 10 years, I’ll also bring a good knowledge and understanding of how things work from both the artists’ and clients’ perspective.
Have you always been interested in illustration and art?
I have been fascinated (read: obsessed) with different forms of self-expression since my early teens, whether it was through art, illustration or clothes. I grew up in the countryside but my mum used to take me to exhibitions at Trapholt Museum in a nearby town and end-of-year shows at Kolding School of Design. Back then, I felt something that I wasn’t able to put into words and therefore found other ways of expressing these thoughts and feelings. This probably led to an interest in artists who successfully managed to communicate their feelings and beliefs through various art forms.
Do you think the London art scene is in a healthy state today?
I find the London art scene to be rather exclusive and antisocial. I would like art to be accessible to everyone, both to observe and to practice, especially for those who aren’t naturally exposed to it. I think more diversity, openness to share experiences and elimination of unpaid internships are all steps towards a healthier art scene. Luckily there are some great charities in London such as Arts Emergency and Creative Mentor Network who work towards these goals by introducing mentoring programmes.
Are there any artists, aside from those linked to Breed, of course, whose work you enjoy?
Francis Bacon’s paintings evoke something inside of me which I appreciate, and I have a book by photographer Duane Michals which I never get tired of flicking through. Among more contemporary artists, I enjoy David Shrigley’s illustrations and messages. Animator Ruff Mercy also produces inspiring music videos. However, it might be a different selection if you ask me tomorrow!
Do you go to galleries? Do you have a favourite?
I go to galleries and museums but don’t think I can point out a favourite – it very much depends on my state of mind. Tate Britain is a good source of inspiration. The Barbican and Whitechapel Gallery have great exhibitions with both modern and contemporary artists. 180 The Strand has hosted memorable exhibitions such as ‘The Infinite Mix’ which was a collaboration between The Vinyl Factory and Hayward Gallery. The gallery building and environment are equally important to me as I like to have the space and time to observe at my own pace.
Do you have any artwork on the walls at home? If so, who’s it by?
I live with my partner, so the artwork at home is a mix of both our collections. We have two works by Natasha Michaels, the artist behind James Baldwin Penguin Classic book covers. We also have a framed Jean-Michel Basquiat poster, a painting by my partner’s grandfather and a framed cut-out of Ghanaian kente cloth. Other than that we have an even bigger collection of masks, mostly African due to my partner’s heritage.
I love old frames and tend to pick up framed paintings in charity shops, which also adds some randomness to the collection. At the moment we have a large framed image of Marilyn Monroe, which we need to get replaced.
If you could own one artwork, what would it be?
That’s tough. I often need to connect with an artist on some level in order to fully appreciate their work. I admire a lot of the women of the surrealist movement and love both the colours and the pain portrayed in Frida Kahlo’s work. I would probably have to go for the painting The Two Fridas which was painted in 1939 after her divorce from Diego Rivera.
You were involved with a podcast, too, called ‘The Longest Battle’. Could you tell us something about that?
I have been into podcasts for years and met Emma Martins, the founder of The Longest Battle, through Volunteer Centre Hackney. Emma is a former TV producer and caught a life-threatening virus on a holiday in Vietnam which caused her a brain injury and visual impairment. The Longest Battle podcast is about life-changing experiences told by those who lived them, and the first season includes interviews with people such as Maryam d’Abo and Paul ‘Mad Dog’ McGuinness. It’s very inspiring to hear about the pain people have overcome and the continuing struggles they go through in their everyday life.
You volunteered for Architects Without Borders. What was your interest in what they did?
Since I was young, I have spent a lot of time in my mum’s landscape architecture studio and developed an interest in interactive and social architecture. When I found out about Architects Without Borders and their work with social justice, it was something I was naturally drawn towards.
What else do you get up to, when you’re not doing your day job?
All things pins and needles – I sew, knit and crochet a lot. Other than that, I’m a huge podcast enthusiast and also spend a fair bit of time at Bertha DocHouse watching documentaries. Once a week I volunteer with Volunteer Centre Hackney, a charity working towards building communities and reducing social isolation in Hackney. In order to see my family and get a chance to reboot and breathe in fresh air, I also travel to Copenhagen once a month.