Some of my followers have approached me suggesting I write a little about myself. So, here we go!
I work and live in a small village on the South coast of Norway called Etne. As you might have guessed, this area provides immense amounts of inspiration and reference for my landscapes. It also happens to be the place where I grew up. I studied a few years in Bergen and UK, but moved back in 1999. I got involved in an art café project with some friends. It’s called Fugl Fønix and later turned in to a hotel project. (Check it out here: http://fuglfonix.no)
I approach my job as an artist in a way I believe is not too different from any other kind of work. Of course, I’m self employed with all the worries and challenges that would imply. However, it all comes down to putting in the hours and work as efficiently as possible.
Frequently I get “funny” remarks from fellow villagers like “good day, or to you it’s more like good morning?” or “So, I see you got lunch, or I guess it’s breakfast?”. This plays on the classic stereotype of the artist, sleeping all morning, spending a couple of hours in the studio on some crazy installation piece, and then sharing a glass of ruby red with artist colleagues in the evening, finished by a long night of contemplation over some deep existential conundrums. All the time spending tax payers money (he must be on some sort of funding, right?) and inhaling unhealthy amount of turps. Well, this is not really the case. I get up around 07:00 am and do a quick morning session, in order to allow some layers of paint to dry whilst getting over to the local café for a coffee and some office work. Even artists have to pay their bills, order materials, deal with gallerists, deal with customers, follow up on all kinds of strange requests (you can’t imagine all the weird stuff people ask me to do) and, I admit, a little check in on Facebook.
I’m an avid collector of ancient coins and antiques (this is where the hard earned money goes), so a scroll through the current auction listings has become a part of my daily routine. Then back to the studio. In busy periods, like right before a show, I also do evening sessions to stay ahead.
The artist in deep concentration. Never mind the clutter. Photo by Helge Haaland Hjelmtveit.
Having become somewhat a mentor, I currently have a few adult students frequently coming to work in my studio. They get some input from me, and I can then ask for a little help from time to time. This works entirely based on a quid pro quo arrangement, and is also a nice break from the solo monotony of working alone. I enjoy the company.
As self-employed, I have the privilege to take the odd day off in a whim. I don’t have children, and this means there is more time for work, but also some recreational activities. I’m a very keen metal detectorist, so if I’m not on a tight schedule and weather allows, it’s very tempting to go for a dig.
By now, you’ve probably figured out I’m a big nerd.
Never mind, I also play music (guitars and sax) with friends and do on occasions get involved on projects like a horn section that performs with a local choir. My band “Owls to Athens” is planning a studio session in the local ABC Studio (Check it out! (the studio) http://www.abcstudio.no/ABC_STUDIO/ABC_Velkommen.html).
My landscape project is currently the main focus. However, in periods I have been working on the “Fiigenschou series”. This is a kind of meta baroque project that involves fictional cat characters in a conspiratorial concept. Have a look at this old website from the time when flash was hot (does not work very well on iPads): statsgalleriet.no You will also find more updated works on this FB-page: https://www.facebook.com/Statsgalleriet-for-Rikskunst-817747181680847/
The cool cats from the Feline Era. Various sizes. All oil on canvas or board.
The project also includes sketchbooks, objects and artifacts. And yes, I spend an immense amount of money on antique frames!
Well, there might be more, but now I need to get back to work. Busy all day …