I was born in a small town called Hjørring in the Northern part of Jutland, Denmark. My parents (Danish mom and Polish / Russian dad) moved there from another part of the country just before I was born. Being a small fat kid, I was kind of a loner and didn’t like sports, so there really wasn’t much to do besides drawing. I guess I found a refuge in drawing, reading and listening to music. We moved around quite a lot when I was a kid, and drawing was pretty much the only reliable thing I had going, and I haven’t stopped yet. In 1997 I moved to Aalborg (Denmark’s third largest city), and I’m still here. I’ve found the most amazing girlfriend in Copenhagen, so I’m moving there this summer.
Where is the best district to find cool galleries / art spaces?
The part of the country I live in is pretty traditional in it’s views of art, but the galleries here are now becoming more open-minded towards emerging young artists. Copenhagen has more of an “art-scene”, where you can hang out with other artists, but since Denmark is such a small country, it doesn’t really matter where you live. I do occasionally miss a scene like that, although the solitude in Aalborg has it advantages too. Nevertheless, I’d say Copenhagen is more exiting as far as exhibitions are concerned.
Can you recommend some other Danish artists?
My best friend Morten Andersen has to be on top of that list, he does these awesome abstract graffiti-pieces He has been a key character for me: I owe him so much. Husk Mit Navn is great too!
Actually, it translates to “Vandalism”, which is the title of a novel by Danish author Tom Kristensen. There’s a poem in the book that means a lot to me – roughly translated to English it goes something like: “My anxiety must be redeemed in longing, and visions of horror and distress / I’ve been longing for shipping disasters, vandalism and sudden death”.
I grew up watching tv shows like Tove Johanson’s “The Mumins”, which to me is the essense of Scandinavian melancholy, and I’ve always been fascinated by that aspect of life. The good times are just that – good, and as such not very interesting to work with. I find it much more exciting working with melancholic subjects; finding and exploring the beauty in the things that hurt, and in this sense, I am always longing for shipping disasters, vandalism and sudden death.
Tell me about your artistic process.
The process changes from painting to painting, because I tend to get bored pretty quickly. Sometimes I do a quick sketch beforehand, and sometimes I just do it off the fly. However, I almost always do an underpainting in black and white using charcoal and chalk: I think I read that’s how some of the old painters did it? It saves me a lot of time, because the shadows and highlights are pretty much defined when I do the overpainting in thin layers of acrylic paint afterwards. Then I use spraycan, more acrylic, more charcoal and more chalk, and to finish up I apply a couple of layers of acrylic glaze, which really intensifies the colors and adds a nice even surface. I used to use a lot of acrylic markers, but I changed to charcoal and chalk, because it makes the lines and details more messy, which I kinda like!
Some of your characters carry wooden boxes, for example in these 2 pieces: Jeg var ikke den du forventede!” and “Du vil altid være hos mig!” . Do the wooden boxes have a special significance? What is it you like about this object?
Again, it has to do with melancholy. I like the duality in the box – how you can use it to carry stuff with you; your past, the people, experiences and the emotional patterns, which have been formed you during your life; but also how these things and the box itself can trap you, and keep you from breaking free, which also has a very beautiful aspect to it.