Kånken Art happens when renowned artists express their relationship to nature while using a Kånken backpack as their canvas.
Kånken Art ‘23 is designed by Swedish illustrator, graphic designer and artist Martin Ander, also known as Mander. His design is based on his unique urban skateboard style remixed with shapes and patterns found in nature. Specifically, super-magnified images of leaves, wood, lichen, and moss.
“I’m generally more of a street guy, but I love nature,” Mander said when asked about his inspiration for this project. In the early days of the pandemic, he was living with his family in Sörmland, a region to the south of Stockholm known for its beautiful natural surroundings. He recalled, “My family and I started walking a lot — walking in the woods close to home and doing one-day hikes.” Spending more quality time in nature sparked his interest in taking a closer look — much closer, in fact.
“I started looking for the structures and patterns in nature and began to draw them in my style. The closer I looked, the more structures appeared on stones, leaves, fungus, and moss, for example. So that was the foundation for the repeated pattern you see on the Kånken.” Internationally known for his bold punk and fanzine designs on skateboards, album covers, and posters, Mander blended his intricate vision of nature with his signature style for Kånken Art ‘23.
In hopes of inspiring other artists to let their natural and urban surroundings inspire them to create, Mander wanted this year’s Kånken Art project to include some special artists supplies. A pen case and a sketch pad are included in the Kånken Art Plus. They are also made with the same vibrant or grayscale patterned textiles used for other Kånken bags.
“A lot of my work involves staring at a screen or a piece of paper for long periods of time so I really need to move when I can. I also think much more clearly when I’m out walking or on my bike - I often get even more ideas while I’m out there.”