Monday, November 30, 2009

new constellations

When painting I mount my big papers on boards. Sometimes - when I move the boards with my paintings around in my studio to get a better look at what I'm doing - the different paintings meet or a new possibility to see my imagery reveals itself to me.

I love the process.

Something totally different: Cecilia is having a moleskine give-away!
Some time ago I guestblogged (only in Swedish) at 365 saker

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Art as Business - postponed

Unfortunately I will not be able to deliver any post in my series Art as Business this week. But I will be back next Sunday with my progress report (as promised). Networking part 2 will therefore have to wait two weeks (13th of December) - but it will be worth waiting for!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

face it

You can eat bananas almost every day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

it's all in the details

Ah - to be a true gentleman in every limb and pay attention to your look: posture, well kept moustache, the cravat ...

Kity Kilian
works with mixed media and collage.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Disney Dreams

Almost two months later I finally finished this painting. I have been looking at it and looking at it. I knew it needed something extra. I didn't know what, though. Then it got colder outside and I realized that she needed some kind of hat.

For those of you who like cartoons: HDK got a master class in cartoon as art/advanced storytelling through image (sounds very interesting - but I have to restrain myself!)

work in progress

I'm having so fun in my studio!

Thereza is interviewed at artists who blog

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Art as Business: Networking

Working in/on a net? Being a fisherman?
Working on internet? Facebook?
Net, net ... - Netotism - sorry: Nepotism?

working working working (yes, I do that)

Just thinking about all this makes it messy in my head. I just envision tangled threads - and not connections leading to clarity and salvation. I need to get some distance - Professor Hedberg, can you help me out here? (I'm putting on my spectacles and clear my throat)

“Van Gogh never sold a painting in his whole life and now he’s one of the most famous artists in the world”

If you are an artist, like me, you’ve probably had people (especially those who know little of art and art history) telling you this on more than one occasion. (Though I think he sold one, maybe two paintings). People might refer to the myth “suffering starving artist like van Gogh” to prove to you that
- The best artists will only get discovered after their death
- Great art will always find it’s way – in the end - no matter what.

The first argument is actually more an exception than the rule - most great artists (that is: what we consider great artists today) through history were acknowledged, in one way or the other, when they were alive. Second: we can not know what great art was lost and never came to people’s awareness – because we don’t know about it.

Why do people claim that Van Gogh was not acknowledged when he was alive? Because they think that the market’s acknowledgement – commercial success – is the sole acknowledgement. But in reality there are three ways you can be acknowledged:
  1. by the market (commercial success)
  2. by institutions
  3. by peers

Van Gogh was acknowledged by his peers (Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec and Pissarro were his friends for example) and therefore came to influence many other artists. This made him later acknowledged by institutions (like museums) – and the art market.

You know about the Salon des Refuses? They were exhibitions arranged by the artists who would later become known as the impressionists. They had been refused by the Salon de Printemps arranged by the institutions of that time. The artists acknowledged by the institutions – like the official Salons - had commercial success back then – but if you see it in a bigger perspective: Who are the successful now?

But what has this to do with networking?
Networking as an artist can be divided into precisely these three areas of acknowledgement! (Van Gogh was good at networking with other artists!)

Being an artist you are probably aware - deep inside even if you don't want to do it - that you should network
. You should know the right people, you should distribute your business card, you should network with everyone so people know about you and your art and come to your exhibitions. You might get the advice to constantly expand your network and you might be told that your contact list is one of your most valuable assets.But it doesn't make sense to network in the same way to reach different kind of people - does it? And what do you really want to achieve by networking?

Join me next Sunday when I get deep into how you might think when networking to reach the market, the institutions or your peers!

[this is a post in my series Art as Business. You might access the other posts through links in the sidebar.]

Saturday, November 21, 2009


a ray of light on my studip wall on Friday. So far November had only given us 3 hours of sunlight

baking the biggest cinnamon role in the world (i didn't have the heart to tell him this might not be the record...)

seeing Camilla's exhibition (hurry - this one was still unsold today!)

starting painting on a big new paper

Friday, November 20, 2009

weekword | LISTLESS

Katy (creating misericordia) chose the weekword - see her blog for links to more interpretations

Thursday, November 19, 2009

2 x sneak peak

a sneak peak of a painting in progress in my studio today...
... a sneak peak from the pre-opening of Camilla's exhibition tonight. If you want to have the chance to buy something you'ld better hang on the lock on Saturday!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I can fly

You know that they say bumblebees are not supposed to be able to fly because of their complexion - but they don't know that they can't fly, so they fly anyway...

To remind myself of the bumblebees and that we are the ones limiting ourselves (I can not do that) I keep the words "jag kan flyga" (=I can fly) on my studio wall. This is to very much amusement to my studio neighbour who keep saying things like "can you fly yet?", "you better not taste any wine as you already think you can fly" etc most times he pops over. He hasn't asked why I have that text though.

Today I mounted big new papers on boards and now I'm doing my best to start an intensive painting period... without limiting myself in any ways... (better lock the windows!)

Victor Castillo's art
amuses me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

fixing lunch in my studio

The other week I met Cecilia for a coffee and she gave me this beautiful cutting board (and we had such a nice time!). I keep it in my studio - and now I just want to make salads and cut colourful fruits and vegetables on it for lunch. Starting tomorrow I will now have a concentrated period in my studio (more or less) until Christmas. YES!

If you want to learn how to make patterns like Cecilia, she gave this great tutorial last week- part 1 and part 2.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Art as Business: Teaching/Giving Workshops II

I've had this writer's block for this Sunday Post. I wanted to be consistent, to be funny, to write about how teaching art is business... but everything turned out horribly dull, confused- and, and, and very uninteresting.

So instead of writing about making money, marketing and great plans I'll let you know how I've taken these 3 great courses through teaching art these years (and they even paid me to take them!):

- 10 people sit at their desks waiting. They are quiet, some have their arms crossed. Many are sceptic. You have to open with the right lines. (rehearsing the first little speech is never wrong)
- You learn to speak up
- Anecdotes and metaphors will help to get the message through
- Humour is never wrong
- If you manage to start out great you have to live up to their expectations - and be even better in the end. The important is to convince them to pay attention in the beginning, keep their interest during (you don't have to be as good then) - and finish by being fantastic (so they'll feel: is it already over?)
- If you can show how to do something instead of just talking about it - do that!
- If you have several different classes you can test everything on one group first - if not good change it (When I've been teaching the same subject to different groups I've tried to vary which one is the Guinea pig)
- Never give them a chance to even start doubting your competence. First impression does last and will be hard to overcome if not good.
- Confident is not the same as arrogant. After establishing that you are the authority in the class room a little self-distance will make you appear human and make you more liked.
- It is easier to be self-confident when well prepared
- If you are truly self-confident you will be able to answer "I don't know, but I'll find out for you"

- Everyone wants to be seen. Make a great effort to remember names. If you are really bad at it let people know - and try instead to remember other things about them. If you remember where they live, how they take their coffee, what they love to paint, that they have a grand child who is a dancer - they'll feel seen by you even if you forget their names... (ok, ok - I admit: I forget names!)
- To be able to read people is the key to all relations. To respect their personal space. To see when they want help even if they say nothing. To let them be when they give you those signs.
- To let some people just do what they want - they are not you. (I once pressed a little old lady too much. She was really making improvements but then she suddenly wanted to go back to painting flowers ... but I wanted her to keep improving. She never came back... )
- Don't just talk about yourself. Ask what experience they have in the field.

These three courses has helped me very much in my Art as Business when it comes to presenting sketches and ideas for boards trying to get commission jobs, establishing contacts with galleries, talking in front of (big groups of) people at meetings - and much more.

As I got this writer's block when it comes to the teaching art subject I'll not continue to force it - even though there is much more to write about. Next week I will instead write about networking as an artist!

[this is a post in my series Art as Business. see sidebar for link to the other 14 posts]

Friday, November 13, 2009


- Love, can you please sit properly when we are eating

- You are still not sitting properly. Why don't you listen to Mummy? It can be dangerous, you can slip and hurt yourself!

- That's even more dangerous. SIT DOWN!


- I told you so.
This is what happens when you don't listen to me

I chose the weekword. The other participants are Aimee, Anne, creating misericordia, Esti, Thereza, Anairam, Sarah, Cecilia, Caroline, Lotte and Aris

Next weekword will be chosen by Katy (creating misericordia)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

more about commissions

Every night when I come home I see this series of enamels I made for my own tenant owner's association. And I am pleased with them - they are welcoming, they help orientation - and they look kind of nice.

There are commissions and commissions. If you get to do bigger jobs for municipals/regions/the state etc you get more artistic liberty, but you will anyway always have to take into account where it will be placed and who will see it. Then there are other jobs where it is more about creating complements to the architecture or adding some form of decoration. In the latter case it is very often art with a specific function and has to please the majority of people seeing the art piece.

When it comes to making art for a tenant owner's organization it is always the latter. They are "public decorations", they are supposed to beautify - like flowers in the garden... I see it as a challenge to make something that's pretty good under the circumstances. Of course a series of road killed wild animals for all the entrances in a building would contain much more than just "decoration", but it's not what people want to see every day coming home from work. And the kids would be sad to see dead animals...

Sometimes I might be whining about wanting to work on my own art, but I am actually happy not having to compromise there...I can compromise with the wild animals instead!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

trees or wild animals

Yesterday when I met this tenant owner's organisation I came with two new ideas:
- either a series of enamels with leaf trees as motives
- or common wild (land) animals (from the region)

... these ideas had actually been my first thoughts when I saw the surroundings (a very green area with a feeling of closeness to nature), but I had instead followed the subject I was suggested (sea). But then everyone didn't like that...(note to self: listen to myself!)

They liked the idea of the animals best. I agreed: that is a motive more easily understood by everyone (children as well)... but a part of me thought it would be extra fun to make the animals as road kills; flat hedgehog, squashed fox etc. But of course I can not do that... at least 80 % of the tenants should preferably be pleased with the art pieces!

(you might wonder why I take these kind of commissions though. I'll let you know tomorrow!)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

not the sea creatures

Today I had a meeting with a tenant owner's association about a possible commission (enamels) for their entrances. I had already delivered an idea sketch - sea creatures. They had liked the sketches and the main idea, but didn't feel the motive was suitable for their buildings and surroundings.

Today we met to discuss further ideas. Tomorrow I'll show you what I showed them this time...

Magdalena Eriksson is now exhibiting at Galleri Jeanette Ölund in Borås. I saw the exhibition today and really enjoyed it!

Monday, November 09, 2009

next weekword

... will be lesson.

Feel free to interpret it in any way: photo, illustration, art piece, poem, story etc. Just leave a comment on this post and I'll link to you on Friday!

Art as Business: Teaching/Giving Workshops

before a painting workshop with the Police

In August I asked myself: Where do I MAKE MONEY right now – as an artist?

I concluded that in my bookkeeping I had divided my income posts into
1. Commissions
2. Exhibitions (gallery)
3. Art sales outside exhibitions (provision sales/through my own studio)
4. Teaching/workshops

The first three I’ve already written a lot about – and now it is time for the fourth. Teaching art or giving art workshops is actually BIG BUSINESS. There are so many art schools for aspiring artists at any level, day and evening classes for happy amateurs, liberating workshops for people who need to bound at work - or art workshops to solve any kind of problem with marginalized groups in society (refugees, long-time unemployed, teenagers from the suburbs etc)

  • painting with toddlers
  • independent workshops: manga for kids (libraries, schools)
  • senior-level art teacher
  • night classes for amateurs (watercolour, oil painting, portrait drawing, manga)
  • guest-teacher at art schools
  • workshops for professional artists
  • liberating workshops (painting together to strengthen group mentality)

… you thought that was just a list of what you can teach? No, that is what I have taught through the years!

Chibi, a kind of Manga

It is not surprising that most artists do make their living from teaching art to others. If teaching art is a steady job with a salary it’s someone else’s Art Business – but if you make the arrangements, marketing and administration yourself it is your own Art as Business!

Once upon a time I just saw teaching art as a way to get incomes, but when you manage to distance yourself a bit from it – and see it in a bigger context – some of the jobs will be like throwing stones into the water. They will sink and disappear forever… No that’s not what I meant. I mean that other things, than just the pay for the job, might spread like ripples on water.

I nowadays always ask myself this question: what else can I get out of this teaching/workshop?

Non commercial values:
  • Will I enjoy it? (this one can let me override everything else)
  • Will I learn new things?

Commercial values
  • Will I get possible customers directly and indirectly (more workshops, art buyers)
  • Will I get useful contacts?

  • Can it lead to better teaching opportunities?
  • Will it expand my professional network?
Let’s apply these questions to some of the different teaching jobs I have had:

senior-level art teacher (not very good pay, employed = secure)
-Enjoying it? No, just rarely. It was more about keeping order than really teaching art. And I do not feel a calling to make a difference in that way.
Learn new things? Not when it comes to art. I did learn some things about new drugs the kids were using and was reminded about being a teenager (I’m so happy I’m not 15!).
Commercial values? Non. The kids think you’re a failed artist and so do their parents. If it had been another country at a fancy private school, maybe it could have been different.
Lead to better teaching opportunities? If you prove yourself and engage yourself in an extraordinary way you can get to teach children/teenagers in more interesting ways. But you're not gaining much points if you want to teach ART art.

Night/weekend classes for amateurs (employed = salary sucks!!!!, on your own = ok pay)
Enjoying it? Almost always. The students appreciate me and I do enjoy seeing their progress.
Learn new things? I keep repeating the foundation of drawing and painting. Very useful. I improve talking in front of people (I give little speeches like a preacher!). Besides - this is one of the few ways I meet people outside the cultural sector- and it teaches me how others see art and artists.
Commercial values? If I prove good at teaching they want to take more classes. Some of them might even become my ambassadors and will do their best to help me in many ways. Many of them will come to my exhibitions, some will buy my art.
Can it lead to better teaching opportunities? As a first step when teaching art it is good, but then you will not get any more points.
Expand my professional network? Only if the students happen to have jobs related to culture.

workshops for professional artists (arranged on your own = good pay)
Enjoying it? Almost always. But you might have to work on overcoming someone being a bit skeptic. Most of them have been teaching a lot as well - you will be scrutinized.
Learn new things? When teaching other artists I improve my technical skills immensely.
Commercial values? Not directly – they won’t buy my art. If they really like me they might take another workshop though – or recommend me to others.
Can it lead to better teaching opportunities? DEFINITELY! This is one of the few ways that you can really show other artists that you are good at teaching. Several of the artist that have been taking my workshops teach at art schools were I would like to guest teach – and I hope I made a good impression. (but someone probably has to die before there will an opening)
Expand my professional network? Absolutely. This is a natural way to get to know people that you might not bump into otherwise. But as always – you have to make an excellent job!

summer classes by the sea

Anyone who has followed this Sunday Series will by now know that I can not be accused of not having tried many options. On the contrary it might seem like I've been trying everything instead of concentrating on one thing. True. This is my weakness. But I have gained a lot of experience in many fields!

Anyhow - You can not change what has been. You can only learn from it and move on. I will next Sunday continue to conclude what I've learned from teaching art in many ways: Teaching Art/Giving Workshops II.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I'm sorry

...but I'm still following a different calendar which sometimes means that Sunday occurs on a Monday. Art as Business: Teaching Art/Giving Workshops will therefore be tomorrow.

Friday, November 06, 2009

art for everyone

"Mascara"(oil on canvas) 75 x 61 cm

On Tuesday opens the exhibition Konst åt alla (art for everyone) at Kulturhuset Vingen. We are 25 invited artists from Gothenburg exhibiting. I am participating with this painting and two screenprints.

have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


There is nothing as liberating as having art pieces you aren't pleased with. You can do anything you want! There is no fear of destroying something, no respect.

Over worked?
Work on it more. Cut it. Tear it. Poor coffee and wine. Let your kid play with it. If it still sucks just throw it away - or continue having fun and make it worse...

... it could magically happen that you make something really interesting out of it ... (but don't hope for it - then you loose the liberty of destruction)

Christine works with cutting things too, but in a different way - and now she has a great give-away!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


It seems like most people got a cold these days. But not me!

Monday, November 02, 2009

taking a break

You know they say you should take time to smell the flowers. They aren't in bloom any longer so yesterday I smelled the autumn and kicked yellow leaves. My love is telling me I'm constantly two things nowadays: in a hurry and tired. We don't want it to be like that, do we?

I would have loved to see the exhibition "Slash: paper under the knife" in New York. Here you can see some of the work.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Art as Business: Progress Report II

So here we go – progress report 2.

It’s been 4 weeks since the first one – and besides missing out on 2 days of work because of sick kid (again) – I’ve been working really hard (only 2 out of 4 weekends off). But I feel like I’ve had a hard time to get the time to do what I should. When setting my deadlines it’s like I really didn’t take into account all the other things I had to do - especially not the administrative parts.

My excuses are:
  1. The dog ate my deadline list
  2. Wednesday and Thursdays I’m always teaching and have just time for 2 hours administration daytime.
  3. Lunch meeting meant also preparation time and summing up time
  4. 2, 5 day screenprinting workshop (+preparations and administration)
  5. Mural (execution, preparation, administration)
  6. I’ve been to 6 meetings
  7. We’ve had a house guest (brother in law from Colombia) which meant I couldn’t spend all nights in front of the computer
bad bad dog!

- What about the deadlines and tasks?

I’ve done what I should when it comes to the commissions – except the part “contacts within tenant owners associations/architects firms”. I have distributed my brochure to more people, and I have started (slowly) to pull some strings when it comes to architects – but I haven’t worked on this as hard as I should… THIS IS MY WEAKNESS. I have to improve…

- Ok, deadlines and tasks are good things – but do I see any results?
When fishing for commissions it takes loooong time to get any results. Some things that are happening now are because of contacts taken before I started my Art as Business series. But let’s count it anyway!
  • 10th of November I’m having a meeting with a tenant owners association interested in (probably) ordering enamels for their 38 entrances. They have already seen some sketches. They contacted me because they had seen my enamels from 2008.
  • When making follow-up calls for the lunch meeting invitation (public commissions) I got in touch with someone in the municipal of Lerum who knows the art works I’ve made for them. She didn’t have the time to come to the lunch meeting, but asked if I could contact her 4 weeks later and then come to see her instead (in my calendar now!). They have some projects coming up that might need commissioned art.
  • The client who ordered the mural I painted last weekend contacted me again just two weeks ago for another mural. BUT I had to talk to the architect ...he wasn’t too happy about the idea (very obvious)… and then convinced the client they should see what the tenants thought first. This might just be an excuse. I’m not getting my hopes up for this one.
When it came to the galleries I gave myself these tasks
  1. order new portfolio by October 6 - done!
  2. 2 hours every Thursday night should be reserved for "thinking about GALLERIES" - I have not had that time but one Thursday
  3. Progress Report on my thoughts and Gallery approaches on my blog 1st of November - See no 2
  4. try to spend 40% of my time on creative work in studio/KKV - Not even 15 %

Here I’ve been less successful … I had given myself unrealistic tasks considering everything else I had to do. I will instead concentrate on this in November and December.
  1. Follow up exhibition applications by phone
  2. 3 gallery visits - asking to exhibit - in person (not the GALLERIES)
  3. Send more exhibition applications (with new portfolio)
  4. in average 3 days/week in the studio
  5. Plan for concentrated working period in the studio - 3 months - spring 2010 (financing? time?)
  6. I will wait with the "going for the GALLERIES" until spring, but I will plan for it this year and let you know my strategies.
In five weeks (6th of December) I will give my third Progress Report. I will then concentrate more on the exhibition part (galleries and strategies), but also keep you updated on how I advance with the commissions.

Join me next Sunday for yet another Art as Business post! Next weeks topic will be teaching Art/giving workshops [how can that be business?]