Kirsten Ulve



Illustrator Kirsten Ulve hails from the town of Dubuque, Iowa. Her obsessions with fireworks, puppets, discotheques, as well as a previous career as a graphic designer have all contributed to the style and mood of her work. Her happy clientele includes Glamour Magazine, Hasbro, Target, and Palty of Japan. She has exhibited her work in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Tokyo, and is a regular contributor to The New Yorker, Entertainment Weekly, and Boston Magazines. Kirsten currently resides in Manhattan with her husband and two black cats, Romulus and Remus.

E. L. : How do you stay inspired?

K. U. :  I think if you're a visual artist, the switch is just always on. It's also important for me to have a lot of physical exercise to maintain my enthusiasm. Without it, things start getting dark.

E. L. :  Typical work day?
K. U. :   The skeletal structure is: get up, caffinate, pet kitties, studio time, dance class, dinner, then I catch my "night wind" and work until late.

E. L. : What are you currently working on now?
K. U. : Libby Gelman-Waxner's column that I draw for Entertainment Weeky, so a grouping of about 5 caricatures.

E. L. : Favorite place you ever traveled to
K. U. : Probably Zermatt, Switzerland to ski amongst the cuckoo clock houses 

 my drawing table (with kitty Remus below)

The digital zone

Kitty Romulus in front of a canvas print of "Where's My Body?" 

I made this mobile out of gourds I got from a friend's farm upstate

Me, with new blonde hair streaks

E. L. : Where would you like to visit that you haven’t yet? 

K. U. :  Vestre-Slidre, Norway. After my dad died in 2008, I found my family's ancestral farm there through some research.

E. L. : Top 3 Favorite website + blog/s   

K. U. :  Hmm...it changes now and then:http://www.japanesestreets.com/ - a great place to see what's up with Japan's national passtime: fashion   lonnymag.com <http://lonnymag.com>     - decor is another one of my obsessions http://kristinaklarin.blogspot.com/ - this is a great blog about how to see color


K. U. :  Al Hirschfeld, Alex Steinweiss, Eyvind Earle, David Klein, Chip Wass, Edward Landon, Richard Powers, Inka Essenhigh, Gil Elvgren, Led Pants, Charley Harper, Michael Bartolos, Tim Biskup, Erté, Paul Rand, Alexander McQueen, Rudi Gernhreich, Maurice Noble, George Petty, Pablo Lobato, Addie Herder,  S. Neil Fujita, Tammis Keefe, Jenn SKi, Donald Brun, Dan Matutina, Enid Collins, Kevin Dart, Tina Berning, Don Oehl. 

E. L. :Favorite project you ever did?

K. U. :  I worked on a therapeutic coloring book for kids for the organization Art With Heart. The director sent me a photo of kids coloring in my drawings and I was so happy I cried. Another old fave gig was illustrating an advice column in the men for men's mag "Playguy." Hilarious.

E. L. : Dream assignment + project for the future?

K. U. : In the works for later this year: silk scarf designs. I want to branch into wearable art.

E. L. : If you weren’t an artist, what would you like to be?

K. U. : A professional (modern) dancer. I know a few, and they are so happy and foxy!


K. U. : My husband and I have a place in the Catskills where we recharge on weekends. We pruned a maze through the woods a few weeks ago. We also love to sing in the car, ski, have dinner parties, and play with our cats, Romulus and Remus.


K. U. :   Let's see, I just made my fellow music freak Greg a playlist that includes: J.D. Blackfoot, The Walker Brothers, Escort, Conway Twitty, Black Velvet, Senking, Loverboy, Freddie Cruger, Thin Lizzy, School of Seven Bells, Savatage, Aphrodite's Child, Gil Scott-Heron, Barbara and Ernie, and Dustin Wong (the son of my Japanese Agent Junko), and Goblin Cock. I'm also an avid WFMU listener, where my husband has a show: The Dusty Show with Clay Pigeon.

E. L. :  Best advice to an artist either still in school or just out, looking to get started?

K. U. :   Cultivate your habits. They become your signature style. 

Kirsten, Thanks for taking the time for our interview, for all the wonderful inspiration and insight ! YOU ROCK !  (and HIP-HOP too)
e. L.


Represented in the USA by:

Represented in Asia by:

Prints available through:
Gallery Hanahou in New York City (or contact her directly):