Into the wild with Sara-Vide Ericson

Sara-Vide Ericson inhabits the art world's gifted and cutting edge, creating electrifying and often hot-blooded paintings. She describes herself as a lone wolf who enjoys getting drunk and who never backs down for a grabble. We got intrigued and came by a chance to sit down with the artist for a Q&A session.

7 min read

“But I’m also a pretty cuddly person”, Sara-Vide continues! “Everything that I do revolves around my paintings. I adapt my life after them. I try to live in balance, feed my chickens and grow the number of puppies at home”.

Sara-Vide lives with her artist-husband Bo Christian Larsson. “We live in an old school-building in the most remote parts of the Hälsingland forests. We have a child together, and more dogs to come, soon! I’m a structured person and don’t enjoy being disrupted. To cut a long story short, that's me and my interests”, says Sara-Vide declares.

Your art is exhibited all around the world. How does it make you feel?

Naturally, I am very proud of that, it makes me feel great! My paintings are my language, so I'm glad that people get to see them. Ideally, people will interpret them, and we can meet and understand each other through that experience.

To which city would you most like to follow your art? 

No city at all. They make me anxious. I love going there for a party, but after a couple of days I start seeing all the little details. I mean, I start paying attention to every screw in a sheet-facade, and then I become totally wired up and have to go where things are more quiet and calm. But if I have to choose, I prefer Copenhagen or Berlin, at least for a beer or two...

When did you decide you wanted to become a professional artist? Was there a specific time or event that influenced your decision? 

My mom used to be interested in the arts, and I used to feel that I'd rather die than becoming an artist. She painted horse dongs in light blue dental plastic and named a white rat Macintosh, she also put a cord from her cage into a power outlet. 

Despite all of that, I knew that I wanted to make pictures, so I applied for a pre art school to improve my drawing skills, with the goal of possibly becoming an illustrator. Once I got accepted, I immediately got confronted by this teacher who harshly criticised me and said with a cheeky smile - "Sara, you don’t want to make someone else's pictures ...", and then continued with a very tense gaze "so stop being this coward and make your own art!"  I understood that she was right and that there was no other choice.

How did you end up studying in Stockholm? 

Because I grew up close to Bollnäs (small town in the middle of Sweden) and it was the fastest way out.

How do think a close friend of yours would describe your artistic style? 

I don’t know! I did send a text message to my best friend and asked, but she didn’t answer. Haha!

Which part of the creation of an artwork gives you the most thrill? 

The first thrill happens when I stage the painting as a kind of ritual, and perform it in a real geographical place, under its prevailing circumstances, thereby forcing myself to adapt to it. There's this strong satisfaction in the moment before I know what I'm looking for, and before it emerge. Then I suddenly feel the scent of the image. 

The second thrill, which is the greatest (the first one is more like a foreplay) happens when one feels that the painting will soon take off - it will soon unfold and get close to its full potential. Then it's like standing with a weight on the foot soles over a ridge, when suddenly the air feels smooth and the lungs are filled and so you fall.

Can you briefly tell us about your work process and how you use your studio space? 

I gather several textile materials, I steal fabrics and clothes that belong to people I relate to, and arrange them unconditionally around me. At the same time, I collect space, rooms and places in nature, which to me stand for a variety of things and are loaded with different energies. With all this in place, I bring together location and textile. This usually results in a ritual-like session that can take hours, a whole day, or more. Often, I have to return to a place several times hunting for the right light or season.

After that I take the photographs. But above all I bring the experience of being in or next to the painting before it existed to the studio, where I work with it through the painting medium. That’s where it first appears and I where I can start decoding what it means and why it should exist.

How do you come up with names for your works?

At best the names come to me while I'm working on them. Otherwise, I'm pretty good at exploiting my husband's (Bo Christian) title skills as well. Then I use his head as a funnel, squeeze down all my associations and expectations of the painting through the funnel and then, sometimes but not always, the right title reveals itself from his lips.

Who do you imagine buys your art? What’s your perfect customer/client like?

Someone who understands it in the same way as one understands a nasty or a beautiful dream. 

Are there any artists who inspire you, and whom you admire?

Yes, many people inspire me in my artistry. But I'm not so dogmatic, so it’s not always their art, if they even make art, that gets me going. It can be all sorts of things. So no, I don’t  really have any household names that I can line up.

What exciting stuff are you currently working on?

Right now I've just delivered a lot of new pieces to Art Fair Berlin and CHART Art Fair in Copenhagen, where the works are going to be shown with Galleri Magnus Karlsson and V1 Gallery. Some of them are my best paintings to date, so at the moment it feels a bit sad and empty in my chest as well as in the studio. From now on though, I’ll be working on two solo exhibitions at museums and one group show in NY, which is due to open next year.

Do you have any art for sale that you think we should buy now?

My advice is that you should listen to your gut feeling, you are the one who will live with the work and have that piece of my soul.

Do you collect art yourself?

No.

If you were to buy an artwork today, from which artist would that be?

The latest artwork I bought was a drawing from the series "Whore selling art", by the artist Iris Smeds.

During what hours of the day do you feel most inspired?

In the morning and in the middle of the day! In the afternoon, the power flows away and I get softer.

For a lot of people art is seen as something difficult and inaccessible. Do you like it that way? Or do you think that art should be enjoyed as widely as music, for example?

Haha, I actually stop listening to music at the very moment I start making art, so I'm the wrong person to answer that! Obviously, my head and heart, simply couldn’t accommodate anything but the painting, and what it did to me and how it made me feel. 

But. Two months ago, something truly amazing just happened. I could suddenly listen to music again in the studio! And it was not as if I broke or my head started to implode. Instead the music filled me, and helped me get closer to the act of painting. It must have had something to do with the fact that I’ve been painting for more than 10,000 hours by now.

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