Decades of living, feeling, longing and thinking. Ideas and images spurring from a child’s heart up into adulthood. Three years of writing and three years of rewriting. Then one day it was ready enough to be let go of.
I’m referring to Svenska trollkarlar, my novel that is being sent off to two dozen publishers and literary agents. The title roughly translates to Swedish Wizards or perhaps Sourcerers. It takes place in a vagely defined 20th century vision of the Stockholm archipelago with its thirty thousand islands. A witnessed tale about the borderland between saga and reality and the young Ivan’s confrontation with the dreams and horrors of childhood. Adventure, auto-fiction, Socratic dialogue and mythic realism.
During the summer and fall of 2014 I was commissioned to assist as historic consultant for the shooting of a documentary about the Swedish warship Mars Makalös that sank in 1564. The powder house caught fire and exploded during the heated battle between the Swedes on one side – led by Admiral Jakob Bagge under King Erik XIV – and Danish as well as Hanseatic forces from Lübeck. Mars rapidly sank and took with her up to 800 Swedish and German soldiers to a depth of 70 meters. It was just outside the northern coast of Öland in the Baltic Sea.
In 2011 the wreck was discovered by Richard Lundgren, his brother Ingemar and their colleague Fredrik Skogh – professional divers and wreck hunters – peaking a 20-year search. It was decided a documentary should be made about the ship, her history and life at sea during 1560’s, but not the least about the adventure of finding her. I was contacted to be part of the production and oversee historic correctness for the dramatized scenes, in terms of scenography and costume and as far as budget allowed.
The film is shot and produced by Deep Sea Productions AB, financed by ZDF, German public service, and Swedish Television. It will be released for German and Swedish audiences at the earliest in the spring of 2015.
A “colorful abstract” was commissioned by a family for their son’s fortieth birthday. Based on an idea of visual interpretation I’d had some years earlier, and inspired by the full color schemes of the Futurist and Fauvist movements, I composed this lanscape with a road.
For fun and as a warmup exercise I made a study of Piet Mondrian’s Composition II in Red, Blue, and Yellow from 1930. The work is an example of the Dutch artistic movement De Stijl or neoplasticism. They advocated pure abstraction by a reduction to the vertical and horizontal directions, and used only primary colors along with black and white.
I moved my atelier to the art collective Plan Fyra at Färgkontoret, the old Swedish art paint manufacturer Beckers’ old offices in Liljeholmen, Stockholm. A lovely almost cubic space with much air and a great view. For the first time I could extend the easel to the maximum without hitting the ceiling. The art collective Plan Fyra is a community of creative people of all trades. Very inspiring individuals.
I recently finished a portrait on commission. It was delivered as a surprise in June 2010. The recipient knew nothing beforehand and was a bit startled to see me at his 60th birthday, where only close friends and family were invited. When the painting eventually was carried in and uncovered he understood. He was very happy. He said he knew exactly what he thinks when he has that look, that he recognized the careless hairdo and explained why the cushion is hanging from the steering wheel. These little details reveal the story of a man’s entire life.
The oil Stray Parade was chosen for the prestigious Vårsalongen (The Liljevalchs Spring Salon), January 29 – March 28, 2010, Stockholm, Sweden.
Stray parade, 2009, oil on canvas, 50 x 50 cm.
“The Spring Salon is Stockholm’s surest, and perhaps earliest, sign of spring. This year’s jury comprises Pontus Hammarén, Director of Alingsås konsthall, Karolina Peterson, Director of Mjellby konstmuseum, and Claudia Schaper, Curator at Kristianstad konsthall. Liljevalchs konsthall is represented by Mårten Castenfors and Mårten Åhsberg, who chairs the jury. The concept of a jury-selected Spring Salon is based on a fine old French tradition. Since the 1920s, Liljevalchs’ version of this arrangement has driven some people up the wall, while others have appreciated the salon’s democratic ambitions. All the works are for sale!”