Wednesday, March 31, 2010

creative school

For me end of March has been all about working creatively with teenagers. Last week I started a mural project with schoolchildren (age 15) that is going to continue during spring. It will result in some murals beginning of June. Yesterday I was there and tomorrow too, but after that I won't be there until May.

day 1. 20 kids and I have started a mural on the theme musical instruments

Monday and today I've been spending (all day) in two different schools painting murals with kids (age 13-16) as part of their full week of creative school. Each school has had two days to make their murals (no preparations and sketches beforehand). I've been in charge of day 1 - and my college Eric Magassa of day 2. I wonder in which direction he will steer this mural? Most of the time we think in different ways.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Not any Art as Business

We've had a big pirate party (the son turned 5) ... but it's over now. I will go to sleep early.

(no Art as Business until next weekend)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

super duper

I'm nowadays one of the writers at KRO (the Swedish Artists' National Organisation) West's blog for Equality within the Arts: Aktivering. Today you can read (in Swedish) an interview with Nina Bondeson.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Summer could be possible

Today after lunch I could sit on the balcony and drink my coffee ...

Have you seen Angelica Olsson's drawings?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Super Mouse

I have a bit too much to do this week and next week - and will therefore be less verbal in my posts, but I will be here visually ...

Footprint International Print Competition 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Art as Business: Rejections and Disappointments II

Besides getting turned down when it comes to commissions and exhibition there are many great sources to explore to get those wonderful feelings of bitter disappointment!

Some ways to make yourself feel really bad about it (not recommended)
  • Scholarships and grants: please compare yourself with colleagues and friends who got it.
  • Opening of your exhibition: first believe everyone invited will come and add also all those who read about it in the paper. At the Opening count how many actually came.
  • Sales at exhibitions: calculate how much money you’ll actually make selling EVERYTHING including every print in the editions on display. After the exhibition realize that you went 1000 $ minus.

To not let every disappointment and failure become a bleeding wound that drains you of your energy you have to know how to handle them in the right way. Failure is likely to happen and therefore you should develop strategies for handling it.

Here are my strategies for handling Rejections and Disappointments (I visualize them):

Outer body experience
Very calmly imagine leaving your body and have a look at yourself and the situation: Try to be absolutely objective and analytic: why didn't it go my way?

  • Why did this happen?
  • What were the odds (sometimes it's about the odds)?
  • Was there something I didn't take into consideration?
  • Can it have been my own fault to some degree? (this doesn't mean you should blame yourself. You should consider that maybe you could have done better)
If you have a hard time to leave your body and look at it with distance, maybe the voodoo way should be the way to start instead - or maybe the Edith Piaf?

the Edith Piaf: Je ne regrette rien
(here I imagine myself singing the song)

I always try to remind myself that a failure is never a complete failure if you learned something from it (ok maybe you paid a lot for that experience. And maybe you can not immediately appreciate the experience). Just like it is better to have loved and suffered than never have loved at all – it is better to have tried and failed, than never have tried at all. Cry a bit, be sad, sing the song. Then make a good story out of it, learn something (I don't regret it, by I shouldn't do it again) – but don’t continue regretting it and continue crying!

If it’s hard to get the “je ne regrette rien” feeling then try the next one first.

My Voodoo way
Let your disappointment out by making some kind of ritual. Use your fantasy and creativity to punish those people who didn’t appreciate you: construct for example little dolls representing them, build them a little world - and burn it all! (here I did it) Laugh and enjoy the feeling! Afterwards when you’ve calmed down you can try the outer body experience.

Last solution. If you feel you can not get over the disappointment in any other way - tell yourself: They are all idiots! It was no way my own fault! The ostrich is a bit stupid and will not learn by failure – but will on the other hand not ponder about past failures… I think the Ostrich is a happy animal living in the moment!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

cluster, cluster

In one of my posts about time management I wrote that I should get better at "clustering" tasks and jobs. I've sure succeeded with March! Today I started to teach the third (different) screen printing class in a row. This one is about screen printing techniques in general - on different surfaces - in the 8-weeks course Art for Public Spaces at KKV. (I teach just 2 days.)

It's good to cluster, but I feel like a tired superhero...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

lust for ceramics

I'm back home again after two intense days teaching screen printing on paper at Formakademin. I teach there every year, but normally 3 days, not 2 days as I did this time (the economical situation, I assume).

Formakademin is first of all a school of ceramics and model constructing. Every time when I'm there the smell of clay and all the ceramic give me the lust to work with pottery!

The odd looking couple is a work in progress by Kristin Forsblad.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fish & Bird

not a good idea

I am going to participate in a small but fun exhibition (starting september 25th 2010) together with 9 other artists from the Netherlands, Spain, USA and Australia. Each artist will make a graphical work on the theme Of Fishes And Birds. The sheets will be made into one 10 page harmonica book, and the book will travel to different spots on earth... Do you want to know who are participating (you might know some of them)? Check our blog Of Fishes and Birds

Tomorrow I'm off to Lidköping (another town) to guest teach at the Pattern Design Program at Formakademin.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Art as Business: Rejections and Disappointments

"Let me tell you something you already know.
The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows.
It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.
You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!
Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain't you! You're better than that!"

"Rocky Balboa" 2006

Did you know that they say that only 13% of the Fine Art Graduates in Sweden will be working as artists 10 years after graduating? (and I don't think this goes just for Sweden) And then there are all those who just studied art at lower levels but also strived to become artists...

Being talented isn't enough.
Being lucky doesn't happen to many people.
No - to really be able to make it as an artists, you should know - or learn - how to handle rejections, failures and disappointments. You shouldn't just endure. You should considered it lessons learned and move on - not collect the disappointments and maltreatment. I know of many artists getting bitter and loosing the glimpse in their eye because they think they have suffered so much, that they have fought so hard.

So what are my recent Rejections and Disappointments?
[Yes, I know you shouldn't let people know about your failures. But I have this rebellious trait: I will do it anyway!]

Not Any Progress Report

- rejections (since September): 5 exhibitions, 4 scholarships, 1 membership

-The tenant Owner's Association's board postponed their decision on the enamel commission until mid April. This isn't good - they might be having second thoughts. But even if they aren't - this means I can not make the enamles until June (because of the delivering times for some of the materials I will need and because 2 weeks working on a row at KKV isn't possible time wise in May). I will therefore at the very best get that income after summer vacations (not before as I had counted on) - worst case scenario: nada!

-Had to cancel one of my Screen printing workshops. Not enough people could take my workshop at the planned weekend. I have some people who are interested, but it is hard to find a weekend that works for enough people. I haven't given this one up. (I need the money if I don't get the enamel commission!) But in some way cancelling the workshops was good - I would have totally overworked in March if the workshop had taken place...

- A possible gigantic Public Commission for a Municiple lead to nothing. Before Christmas I went to a meeting with three project leaders for a new School project (3 schools) in a municipal close to Gothenburg. I got very excited, but in a way also disappointed - when I learned that the project would mean commissioned art for around 200 000 Euros (1 % of the construction and renovation costs). (if it had been a smaller commission it would have been much more likely for me to get it) They were interested in me leading the project as an artist and involving other artists. This was of course very flattering. But on the other hand I doubted the Municipal's Cultural department would allow it to be handled like that (a concern I also expressed to them, but they said the cultural department normally didn't care) - normally an experienced art consultant will do that job.
Anyway they asked if I wanted to write a short text with ideas about what kind of art would be possible related to the new schools profiles and preferably interactive and involving the children... Something they could use to sell me in for the project. Nothing fancy, just some ideas - absolutely no sketches. And they couldn't promise me anything. "Don't put too much time on it..."

Normally I shouldn't accept doing this kind of things without a fee, but it was a too great opportunity to miss out on. And of course I put some time on it (Let's say I was only present physically at family gatherings during Christmas...).

Of course the cultural department wanted to involve the State Art Council into the project as it would mean that they put extra money into the project - which would go to their chosen project leader and Art Consultant. And I didn't even get a polite formal "thanks for your great job. We will keep you in mind for another project".

Honestly I haven't given this disappointment much thought since I got that mail in February. (But of course I was really pissed off that week). To repeat Rocky's words:

"Now if you know what you're worth then go out and get what you're worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain't where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain't you! You're better than that!"

In my Next Sunday post I will share my strategies for handling these kind of disappointments: the outer body experience/the Edith Piaf/my voodoo way/ostrich.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Fun

Today I taught the last day of the screen printing workshop - Cecilia and everyone else had been a delight to have as pupils!

I stayed behind cleaning and preparing for a different screen printing workshop next week. When I left KKV the sun was setting. Have a nice weekend!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What a happy family!

Some time ago I was invited by Esti to participate in her playful collaborative project: a children's card game entitled "Happy Family". The card game includes works by the following creative people: Sarajo Frieden, Thereza Rowe, Estibaliz Hernandez, Lotte Andkilde, Aris Moore, Kimberley Di Laurenti and Lady Desidia. (see belove some of their cards too.) All the proceedings are going to the charity organization Doctors without Borders. It is to be published in Spain soon - and I can barely wait to see the whole deck of cards!

you can have a sneak peek of all of Sarajo's cards here
and here you can see Thereza's

Info on how to get your very own cards will come soon!

but today I suddenly noticed that when I sent Esti my second version of card F3 I deleted the poor girl's food by mistake ... (i.e. the layer in photoshop) That's what happens when you fix important things around midnight. But maybe she is better off without the peas?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Today and Yesterday

This week is a busy one - and so is all of March. Today I started teaching my 3-days screen printing on paper workshop at KKV (Cecilia is taking it ... I wonder what she will write?). I enjoy very much teaching it, but I can not help putting ALL my energy into it as Alexandra Hedberg only works in all or nothing mode. At night I'm always totally exhausted after talking and demonstrating and trying to be attentive for hours.

Yesterday I attended Open Space about equality within the Arts at the Art Museum (arranged by KRO - the Swedish Artists' National Organization). I had taken some part in arranging it and it was a success and totally interesting. But right now I'm too tired to write something intelligent about it, so I will leave it for another day...

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

exhibition: Lars Lerin

In the weekend I went to see the big Lars Lerin exhibition at Borås Art Museum. Lars Lerin is a very popular Swedish artist working in big format watercolours. When teaching I use him as an example of how to work with landscapes in a more interesting way. Many of my watercolour students had already seen the exhibition and had been totally enchanted.

I wasn't. I've been aware of Lars Lerin and his work for many years and have seen his painting in real life before. This exhibition featured quite a few weaker art pieces and some uninteresting etchings. Lars Lerin is totally mastering the media of watercolour and I think it is a pity that he isn't using his virtuosity to do something more interesting. His paintings haven't evolved much the last 15 years. The subject is the same more or less - and so is the form. He has some paintings where he is sniffing on something that could lead somewhere more interesting (like the paper cut snowflakes), but he doesn't go there in the end. I wonder why? Doesn't he have the capacity or interest - or is he afraid to lose the admiration of the common people?

I had hoped to see some exploration of watercolour as a media, or the formal elements of his motives (he is at his best when he is on the border to abstraction - like in the photo I post here with all the small paintings mounted together) - or him getting into another subject (like for example further exploring the possibility of other cultures meeting the Nordic in the landscape - like in the painting of the Persian carpet). Looking at the photos I post here I get a better impression than from the exhibition - I made a selection! And this is a good reminder to myself: only show your very best work. You will be judged by the weakest art piece you exhibit.


Sunday, March 07, 2010

Art as Business: Progress Report V

Sometimes I say I might not be a woman deep inside – because I suck at doing many things at once. Trying to multi-task I just lose my concentration and can not even finish the sentence … I don’t remember what I was talking about any longer … I need to concentrate on one thing at a time – or I’ll just do a lousy job. Recently there has been some research published and articles written (here for example) about the disadvantages of multitasking and the constant flow of information.

To do two things at once - is to do neither” Roman philosopher Publilius Syrus wrote in 100 B.C.

Since my last progress report I’ve been spending more or less all my time in the studio concentrating on painting (when the kid wasn’t sick that is) and has therefore not done much to reach my other goals (like getting more public commissions). I had given myself the task to prepare for screen printing, but felt that it would lead me astray and postponed it until mid March instead. But I’ve been doing my bookkeeping which is just torture in the moment - and doesn’t keep my mind busy afterwards.

Anyway this is the progress that I can report:


Produced new materials
  • 11 rise paper paintings (at least 70% good enough for my exhibition in November)
  • 6 other paintings and 2 half-finished. And I feel I’m getting somewhere!

Upcoming exhibitions
  • I have decided what to exhibit in April (at the Art club) and ordered the framing already.
  • I have decided what to exhibit at Göteborg Konstförening in May (a totally different exhibition and with new materials).

Applying for exhibitions
  • A college and I have decided to apply to exhibit together. We have got an excellent exhibition idea and have already put together an application and send it to one Art Gallery (Konsthall). We have decided on some other places for applying to as well, and will do this by mid March. It might lead somewhere – or it might not. It isn’t that easy to get an exhibition at those places.
  • I’ve put together a list of places where to exhibit (solo), I have an exhibition idea and will now just have to finish rewriting my artist statement and put my material together. And apply.
  • I’ve been keeping in touch with my gallery contacts.


YES, I’ve said NO again!
  • NO to be representing an artist organization at the board of VSBK (organisation mediating public commissions). Mostly it would be non-paid and anyway I don’t want to become a cultural administrator (which people seem to think I would be excellent at)
  • NO to be the president of the board of KKV Göteborg (artist-run collective workhops) I even said NO when I got the hypothetical question if I could consider doing it if it was a well-paid part-time job.
I need to concentrate on my own art. And to keep remembering not to say yes, because I’m flattered…

  • updated my website with new materials
  • prepared for screenprinting
  • liberated more time in order to work less at nights (I just don't manage to figure this one out)

4th of April I will give my next progress report and these are some of the things that should be done by then:
  1. artist statement (at least the Swedish one)
  2. several exhibition applications (and I will reveal what they consisted off)
  3. updated website
  4. screen print for travelling exhibition (I'll tell you more about that in the week)
Next Sunday I will write about rejections and disappointments - and give some recent examples from my Not Any Progress Report (which so far has been just in my mind). And then I will share my strategies on how to handle rejections...

Friday, March 05, 2010

sometimes it's NOT you

Sometimes things just don't make any sense. You think, you plan, you take measures ... and still it goes wrong. But now I have something to blaim at KKV (artist run collective workshops): the ruler.

[it really is true ... I haven't done any photoshop-work here]

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

this is my studio

The light is amazing in my studio and I have some really nice neighbours in the next-door studios; other artists and a poet. And now Cecilia is moving in next door to me (though you can't see her door in the photo)! Can it be better?

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Muse - an Inspiration to Creation. Approx 110 x 147 cm.

I've finally decided on the name of my new series of paintings: A Dream Play (ett Drömspel)

Monday, March 01, 2010

writing my artist statement

I've been using the door in my studio for writing down some thoughts for my artists statement.

Today started to rewrite my artist statement. I have one in English and one in Swedish and they both need some improvement. Sometimes everything you write sounds really corny - or very pretentious. I always need some time to get it right - it kind of needs to ripen - so I have set my deadline within a month.

How to write an Artist Statement at the Artist Foundation's website where you can also find some other Art Business related resources under being in the arts. Checking other people's artist statements at for example Axis is also a good help when you write your own statement.