You’ve been praised as a rather odd fish in the pond being a “classic painter” and you have claimed Rembrandt and Caravaggio as inspirations. Do you know why you became an artist? Is there a specific event in your life when you knew you would become an artist?
That's correct – I claim older painters as inspiration due to their outstanding knowledge of human anatomy, how to create multi-figurative scenes and breathe such life into two-dimensional surfaces with pigment and oil. In general, I’m inspired by any artist, living or dead, who understands and can create intriguing compositions weather they work classical or even abstract. I do not discriminate figurative and non figurative painters, I look at colour, composition, mood, etc. If the artist knows how to speak the visual language the subject matter and medium is secondary.
I always knew I wanted to paint for a living. I was 16 year old when i decided to seriously dedicate myself to painting.
Cult of Delusion 2016 Olja på duk 180 x 210 Foto Gary Mamay
Your paintings are often literally quite big, how long does it take you to complete one?
Some paintings take two months, some take up to a year. Often, I make elaborate sketches and work quite schematic before I start a large canvas. Sometimes I start with a general loose layout and allow the piece to grow organically. The latter takes longer but can result in more interesting effects.
Do you follow the Swedish art scene, who would you consider an exciting artist in Sweden right now?
Sweden has a lot of great artists! Someone who’s been around that I’ve always looked up to is Roj Friberg. His dystopian work is magical! Lars Lerin is also an amazing watercolourist, really outstanding. Mamma Andersson’s compositions are intriguing to me, she’s fantastic. I think Anders Krisár is doing very interesting sulptures. Jacob Felländer is to me an excellent Swedish photographer making beautiful complex images.
In what way do the Swedish and US contemporary art scenes differ?
The US scene is of course much bigger than the Swedish art scene, and therefore it has a wider variety. The US art scene has also managed to preserve an somewhat uninterrupted appreciation of figurative narrative art. I believe this has allowed for interesting figurative artists with political and social narratives, like Walton Ford and John Currin, to make great careers in places like New York City.
We recently read in a report that the appetite for art is huge.. “only in Sweden, 7 million people visited an art venue last year”. How many visitors are you expecting to come an see your show at Waldemarsudde?
We will just have to wait and see what the final numbers will be. What we do know now is that since the opening of the exhibition the Prince Eugen’s Waldemarsudde museum has had about 3,000 visitors every weekend, and a good amount in the weekdays. It’s very good considering the size of the museum.
Do you collect art yourself?
Absolutely, I own a modest art collection.
When you do not do art, what do you do then?
I don’t know – I always have art on my mind, even when I’m at home, at the gym, with my friends and family or on holiday. Art is with me constantly, in the city or in nature.