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!”
The Stray Parade was the name of Niklas Hagen’s private music project, separate from other band engagements. Niklas needed a cover for his upcoming record and I needed a deadline. He had quite specific ideas, I made a sketch and Niklas thought it was spot on.
Based on that sketch I began the time-consuming task of realizing this picture. Apart from numerous experiments for all the different materials represented, the square composition was perhaps the most challenging. It took some trials before understanding how I should break ”the rules” to give the image its proper realism. The underpainting is in egg tempera and the overpainting in oil.
Some recent studies of the artwork of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.
Detail from Judith beheading Holofernes, 1598. The woman was Caravaggio’s favourite model Filli di Melandroni. What hit me was her richness in expression; it seems like she wants to express hate, but what comes out is rather hesitation, disgust and almost surprise or curiosity. Note the slight highlight indicating her jawbone.
Detail from Saint Catherine of Alexandria, 1598. Same model. In this painting she is just overly angelic. Melandroni must have had one of those faces that at all time seem to be just about to tell you something, but never does. Living, but silent. The almost straight angle between her neck and left shoulder, the little pucker separating them, the shadows cast by her chin and nose.
Detail from The Crucifixion of Saint Peter, 1600-1601. I was fascinated by the voluminousness of the old man’s body, the sharp shades of light on his belly and the distinctness of the lines in the fabric. He seems so strong.
Detail from The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, 1601-1602. The absurdity of the little finger and the overall dance of the hand struck me.
I designed these coins for the fantasy live role play Trenne Byar (Three Villages) which took place in the summer of 1994, close to Ludvika, Dalarna, Sweden. The planning of the event took around two years and was attended by more than a thousand people. The first and largest of the villages was Vidhamn, were taverns offered proper meals and jugs of mead. Across the stunningly beautiful lake, there was the farmers’ village of Arnros, whose population was suspicious of the big towners. And far far into the woods, were you lucky, you could stumble upon the ancient monastery of Svalvid.
Around 18 000 of these coins were in circulation, used by everyone for everything from everyday tasks or shady negotiacions to high adventures. They came in two kinds: tins and coppers. They could also be split in halves and one tin equalled six coppers. The tins had the king’s dove on the front, and the testicle dagger on back – symbol of crafts and sciences and the bourgeoisie. The coppers displayed the three pillars on one side, symbol of the fictitious faith. On the other two crossed ears of wheat rested on a shield – a crest of sorts for the hard working farmers of the land.
I also designed the script encircling the pieces. I was called Dulin and was designed for ease of learning, yet to prevent automatic reading, so to emulate illiteracy for those who wanted. And hundreds of people did attain litteracy and even had sayings tatooed on their bodies.
Thanks to my very litterate readers, it came to my knowledge that the existence of these coins were mentioned in the sci-fi novel Stealing Worlds by Karl Schroeder. And I can only concur with the implicit message – some of us are indeed blessed with having experienced the innocent days before internet. Invitations for the event was sent over mail (not e-mail) and we had one mobile phone shared among 1100 people. Forget selfies, for emergencies only!
I made a series of oils as a child. This was at age three in 1976. Some of them I have no memories of, but this one stuck. It was a very strong image from a dream and I wanted to recreate the suggestive feel of it. It was definitely a cave opening and the place had a greenish turquoise glow. I don’t remember passing through it, or trying, it was more about it’s presence. However I do remember that I failed my representation of it. I believe this to be the second version. After this period I quit using oil until I became an adult. It was my oil crisis of the seventies.