Questioned a million of times

She has not even graduated from her bachelor's degree at Konstfack. Nevertheless, the attention is already on the 26-year-old artist Elin Odentia. Artworks met up with the young artist in her studio.

4 min read

With four months to go until graduation there are only a handful of paintings left in her studio. The rest have been sold. The collectors range from architectural firms to private individuals. 

Who are you? 

I’m a painter, graduating from Konstfack this spring, where I’ve done my bachelor in fine arts.

Could you describe your art?

I work with oil paintings, often in sizes that relates to my body. The motifs are these objects or bodies, moving or being static, turning away or facing us. Some of my paintings have several sentences long, figurative titles, others don’t have titles at all.

Your recent exhibition at Konstfack was a huge success, what can you tell us about it?

That was my bachelor exhibition. I exhibited 6 paintings together with a small booklet with the titles in it. It was important to me that the titles were read in silence by each viewer, almost like a secret or something private, to create an intimacy. By giving each visitor one of the booklets the titles became theirs, in a way. 

The titles of Elin's work include: “We walked towards the ceremony and the sun looked like the moon and we knew that everything had changed.” and “She threw the glass jug on the floor and it smashed into a thousand pieces. She had had enough.”

We are curious to hear about the process of making your work? 

It starts with a necessity. I sketch down something quickly and usually I don’t know exactly what it is  or why it should look the way it does, but I feel the need to "get it out" of me. Like a strong emotion that needs to take form, become visual. I always work with charcoal and acrylics or vinyl before I start using the oil paint. At this point I work with lines, the colour isn’t a part of the process until quite late, even though it’s crucial. I’m very precise about the colours, if it’s not perfect I will redo it until it feels right. Until the painting can carry the emotion I need it to.

How did you get into art. Do you have a deciding moment when you decided to follow that path ?

Well first of all, I’ve never really seen myself creating art, so ulitmately that was never a decision. That said, I’ve always felt the need of creating things as a way of thinking. At the age of 6, I was lucky to find an arts course organised by a truly super-inspiring artist. Might not sound that fortunate but where I grew up, in a tiny one-bus-a-day-type-of-town, art courses didn't come in masses. So this course has been very important for me. I started telling people that I would become an artist. 

Naturally, I’ve made several personal decisions that has influenced my direction such as applying to art schools. I’ve just never had the radical change of path.  

So you ever had a moment when you questioned your entire career?

Yes, of course. A million times. And other people have questioned it a million times too. But there has never been another alternative.

What is your daily routine when working? 

It’s not very interesting. The main thing is that I work really hard. I have the best energy for painting in the morning, so I try to be in the studio early. And then I work quite intensively with the paintings when I’m there, all the sketching and writing and such things I normally do during the evening at home, drinking tea.  

What is your plan after graduating this summer? 

I’ve been studying for five years in a row, so I’m very excited to work with my art outside the school environment. And I will travel as much as I can. I would love to go to New York and visit all the big museums.  

What does your art diet consist of?  

Ballet! If I had to choose one art form I would take dance, it’s so expressive! And you get 50% discount at the opera if you’re a student. It’s not only ballet though, I love going to exhibitions and museums, and I do it a lot. I’m still not used to being able to see as much art as I able to do here in Stockholm!  
 

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