Carin Bacho Carniani - founder of Swedish Illustrators Gallery Ba.Bo.Ko
Carin Bacho, 36, lives in Stockholm with her husband and two children. She studied Communication Studies in Bologna and philosophy of Language in Los Angeles. She worked in publishing, literary agencies and character licensing before starting BA.BO.KO a children's book illustration Gallery. Along with her friend Maria, they represent the art of their favourite Swedish illustrators and some international ones too. They also sell original drawings and limited edition art prints through their web-gallery, organize pop-up exhibitions, book launches and workshops.
BA.BO.KO - WHAT DOES THIS STAND FOR?
It stands for “Barn”, “Bok” and “Konst” which mean “children”, “book” and “art”. The gallery was started with the belief that picture books are pieces of art. More than that: they very often represent a kid’s first meeting with literature and the visual arts.
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
I grew up on a small farm near Antella, just outside Florence, Italy. My mother is Swedish, my father Italian and we often spent Christmas with my grandmother in Stockholm. We had dogs, cats, ponies and horses, and an olive grove. Quite an idyllic place, now that I think about it!
WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY?
I remember my room in our first house in Antella, it had light blue walls and a bright blue carpet. Or maybe it didn’t, but that’s how I remember it. I was sitting on the floor, drawing, I must have been 3 or 4 years old, my sister wasn’t born yet. I’d like to think that my love for the colour blue comes from that early impression.
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER SALT-WATERS?
I discovered Salt-Water in Melbourne. My husband grew up in Australia and we try to go back and visit every 3-4 years or so. At a friend’s farm on the Bellarine Peninsula all the women there had Salt-Water sandals of different colours: it was love at first sight!
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATOR?
I have most of my favourite Swedish illustrators represented in my gallery, but if I had to pick one that we don’t represent I would say Eva Lindström.
Internationally, I love Beatrice Alemagna’s work. This is a wonderful video that she made for the publisher Mirando Bok when her picture book “What is a child” came out in Swedish last year.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE CHILDREN'S BOOK?
Ha! That’s like asking if I have a favourite dish! I like cooking and eating so much that it is impossible to choose.
At the moment my favourite picture book is Orden var är ni? (Words, where are you?) by Klara Persson. Her books are so philosophical, in a very smart and accessible way, interesting and fun for both parents and curious young readers. And the illustrations are just amazing!
SWEDISH PEOPLE SEEM TO HAVE AN EXCELLENT APPROACH TO LIFE AND THE WORK/LIFE BALANCE - WHERE DOES THIS COME FROM AND HOW DO YOU MANAGE IT?
The Swedish system encourages you to spend time with your family with a long parental leave (480 days!) shared between the parents. Long summer holidays and striving towards equal opportunities is part of our culture. Stockholm is a very liveable city with nice parks, lots of water and you can walk almost everywhere. That makes the everyday chores feel much lighter! Then I guess working with something you are passionate about also helps a lot.
WHAT DO YOU NEVER LEAVE THE HOUSE WITHOUT?
My red Moleskine agenda. I’m not so digital when it comes to organizing my life. And I almost always have a pair of sunglasses with me, even in darkest winter. And raisins just in case I need extra energy… or to bribe the kids.
WHEN AND WHERE WAS YOUR LAST HOLIDAY?
It was a round trip this Summer. First we flew to Sicily and stayed in Palermo for a few days, then rented a house in an old Baglio near San Vito Lo Capo with one of my oldest friends and her family. From there we flew to visit my parents in Florence and finally we spent our last ten days of holiday in Båstad, on the south-west coast of Sweden. My in-laws have a summerhouse where the whole family gathers every summer: my husband’s brother and family from San Francisco, his sister and family from Brussels, great aunt Maggie and us. This year my sister joined us as well. It’s a great way to spend time together. Yes, we Swedes take long holidays in the summer!
WHERE DO YOU LIKE TO SHOP?
I do most of my shopping at Cos or Hope in Stockholm. Otherwise I like to get my clothes when travelling. My favourite scarf is still the blue one I bought at a local market in Tilcara in Northern Argentina. It has all those good memories in it. I can’t visit a bookstore without buying at least one book. And I love to shop for cheese at our local cheese store Winjas: very dangerously so!
WHAT TOP FIVE THINGS DO YOU RECOMMEND A VISITOR TO DO IN STOCKHOLM
1. Walk around the neighbourhood around Mariatorget with a stop at the children’s bookstore Bokslukaren.
2. Walk around Skeppsholmen: Moderna Museet, Hotel Skeppsholmen, Restaurant Hjerta, the Food Truck Court in the summer.
3. You have to see Stockholm from the water. Jump on a boat tour and end up for lunch at Fotografiska Museet. Great view over the water and usually exhibitions that are worth a visit.
4. Visit Djurgården, stop for lunch or afternoon tea at Rosendahls Trädgård or bring a picnic blanket and some food from Östermalm Saluhall.
5 . Visit the neighbourhood of Vasastan. Start at the Asplund Library, walk on Odengatan, check out the vintage furniture shops on Upplandsgatan and walk past Astrid Lindgren’s home on Dalagatan 46. You can now book an appointment and go inside.
All photography by Carin Bacho Carniani
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