How would you describe your art?
I started out as a graffiti artist 15 years ago and my art has been developing from that, some inspiration from the graffiti is still present in my art.
Today I work mainly with paintings in different formats, from small canvases to big murals. I also make hand-tufted rugs. The rugs have been my most popular artworks, maybe because they are quite unique in form and colour.
I work a lot with abstract & very colourful landscapes, when I create these I work with a method where I try to disconnect my thoughts from what I’m doing. Sometimes that works, I like that. But in addition to that I also make paintings with a more cartoon figurative style, this is kind of new to me and I feel like I’m still in the first experimental phase. I don’t have a script or story for the whole paintings, but some of the characters do represent different people or feelings.
I don’t have any bigger plan with my art; I just do what feels right for the moment. I like beautifully painted things and lots of colours, and that is also what I like to create.
Do you make a living out of your art and related practices – or do you combine it with another job?
I only work with my art, full-time - and that works right now. I can survive and that is my main goal. My plan is to ride this wave as long as it takes me, and I try not to think too much about tomorrow.
How long have you been working professionally as an artist?
I got my Master from HDK here in Gothenburg three years ago and I've been working professionally since then.
Have you had a big break? If not; any turning point?
Not yet, I think, I’m still waiting. But there have been several small uplifting happenings. One is that a gallery called Nordhems Konst Invited me almost a year ago, and we have been working together since then. Every time a gallery or museum contact me I find it very nice. And I’ve been lucky to get two big scholarships, which was a very positive kick in the ass.
What is your primary client base?
I combine selling my artwork with making commissioned work and exhibitions as well as workshops and rehearsals.
Describe your work environment. Do you work alone or with others? In a studio or at home? Does this arrangement work for you, and if not, what would your ideal work environment look like?
I have a studio, which I right now share with my girlfriend who also works with art, we have lots of space and the plan is to expand and invite more artists to share the studio. I make most of my work there, but I also spend some time working on place specific works such as wall paintings and sometimes the studio feels more like a storage of colours and equipment than a studio.
When I work with screen print and the tufted rugs I work at KKV (konstnärernas kollektivverkstad) where I rent the workshop. Right now I also have an assistant who helps me with everything, that is awesome!
Do you have a typical workday? How much time do you spend creating and how much on business related activities?
Yeah, we have two kids so we have to plan our working hours. I work mon-fri 8 am-4 pm. I think it’s a really good thing to have my planned working hours; otherwise it would be easy for me to work too much.
I try to do computer work (email, blog etc) one day a week and the other four days creating. That changes from week to week though, but it’s a good plan. I don’t like the computer work; it drains my energy and devours my time.
Which marketing strategies have/have not been successful in advancing your career?
Internet is the only one I’ve tried and I think it works fine. I have a blog which contains mostly photos, Facebook, Flickr, Myspace, Streetfiles, etc. No ordinary webpage though, which I often think is very overrated. Internet is easy to use and I reach lots of people in no time.
Can you share any tips on business organization or financial planning that have worked well for you?
Work with second hand materials. Make art out of crap, old machine parts, clothes or whatever inspires you at your local garbage container. I use a lot of second hand paint that I find at recycling centres. And I have contact with carpenters who get a lot of paint leftovers, and they are happy to give to me instead of throwing it away.
And use Internet for promotion, free sites where you make professional contacts as well as friends such as on Flickr!
Do you have any advice on how to rebound emotionally from rejection or difficult client situations?
Just ignore it and move on and beyond. Find a way to work creative even if you don’t feel for it, as a start platform for you creativity. Cause when the creative energies start to flow good feelings will come along, and new plans have already started.
Based on your experience, what suggestions or lessons learned would you give to someone starting out as an artist?
Just find a way to work that suits you. That suits your situation in life. THEN DO IT! Don’t wait for inspiration; create inspiration.
If you work with pictures, get a sketchbook where you can collect everything from sketches, doodles, pictures, photos and cut outs. AND KEEP EVERYTHING.
What would you like to accomplish in 2010?
Just continue my evolution in painting; I’m very curious where this will lead me both as a career and the development of my own art.
What are your long-term career goals as an artist?
My goal is to have making art as my job, which I love, and at the same time manage to survive (pay the rent and give my family food). If I get to choose I would like to do more public art, outside on big walls!
Finally: Can you share something inspiring?
Once again I must say Flickr! It’s a fantastic source with everything from photos to crafting and graffiti. It’s also a fun community where you can comment and share art, make friends and take part in projects. Here you have some of my favourites: 3KTA, elmac.net, Andrea Posada Escobar, dain, remed art and erosie erosie.