Friday, April 30, 2010

Happy Journey Collective

"Swan Lake", my coffin design

The reason why I've been thinking about death lately: Happy Journey Collective - "a collective project showcasing an ongoing selection of coffin artworks by the finest illustrators and artists from around the globe". The creative minds behind the project are illustrators Thereza Rowe, Lesley Barnes and Abi Daker. (Thanks for inviting me!)

Do you want to submit your own coffin design? There's now a flickr group for open submission.

WEEKWORD | sorrow

Hanna-Happenings gave the weekword sorrow. I haven't played this game for a while; but now I couldn't resist. The reason for this will be explained in my next post ...

- check Hanna's blog for the other participants!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

from a different perspective

Sometimes you just see things from your own perspective, and with your own prior knowledge. And then someone surprises you by telling you something or ask you a question that suddenly makes you realize how others might see it.

I was told that my blog seemed to be about my struggle to be an artist or even more: that in between the lines in my posts my fear of not being seen as an artist is very strong.


I got very surprised. I think I'm not struggling to be an artist, I've been one for years and I am actually making a living out of it (just barely, but that is better than many artists). What I am struggling to achieve - or rather making a concentrated effort to achieve - is to make a good income as an artist without sacrificing principles and my art. Sometimes I might seem a bit hard on myself, but that is just because my aim is Carnegie Art Award and higher. I sometimes make an arrogant impression and being aware of this and living in the country where you should never be better than anyone else (=Sweden) I try not to show how much I believe in myself and I am not telling everyone what I truly believe I can achieve (better not pissing people off)...

I've been on selection juries, on art organisation boards (and asked to be the president of a handful), I've been head of a printmaking workshops for many years, I guest teach at art schools and I give workshops for artist colleagues. I never decline to do something out of fear of not being able to do it (I just wrote a suggestion for giving a long lecture and a workshop at a huge pedagogical fair - something I've never done before. But I know I will give an excellent lecture). I actually very often accept to do things I don't know how to do - then I make sure to learn it and then I do it! ( I actually enjoy the excitement in jumping out without knowing where I will land)

So I'm fearless close to stupidity and kind of arrogant (shit - here I'm admitting something that no one likes in a person). So I got very surprised: how can I have given that impression here on my blog?

Looking closer at my recent posts and reading them pretending to know nothing about myself I suddenly understood how you might get that impression. I've been feeling blue lately, and I've been very open with how I scrutinise myself in order to get somewhere ...

but now I'm showing how fearless I am by posting this monologue ...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Voluntary work day

Today I spend all day doing stuff for KKV (artist run collective workshops): writing annual report, installing and configuring new e-mail addresses, showing a group from Formakademin (where I guest teach now and then ) around at KKV.

Monday, April 26, 2010

packing exhibition

Today my exhibition at The City Council's Art Club was over and I collected what I hadn't sold.

Surprise, surprise - in order to do everything I've promised to do and meet some important deadlines I will have to live in a parallel world this week where the day has 48 hours. I hope the parallel internet connection will allow me to be present here at my blog anyway.

Thereza and Lesley has made a great little animation together - see it here and then vote for it!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Art as Business: Evaluation I


It is so easy to just set deadlines and work to meet them, set deadlines and work to meet them … and forget to evaluate if you really are getting somewhere! I feel it is time for me to ask what I’ve done and what I’ve achieved. (For anyone new to my blog it would help to read my starting point and commission I first - to really understand what I'm evaluating)

Public Commissions - time and effort invested since August 2009
  • I spread the word to all my contacts and distributed my folder
  • I printed special business cards with a photo of my best mural
  • I participated in an exhibition about Public Art (focus on schools)
  • I presented my art at 3 lunch meetings focusing on Public Art and made a lot of phone calls
  • I took better photos and updated my materials
  • I joined VSBK (organisation mediating public commissions), went to a portfolio presentation and afterwards adjusted my materials according to their recommendations

  • I painted a minor mural, BUT that contact had already been established in spring
  • I made a suggestion (paid) for a tenant owner’s association, BUT didn’t get the commissions
  • I was asked to write a suggestion on how to think when making Public Art for a School Project involving 3 schools, BUT didn’t get that job (which would have been huge)
  • I was asked to send in more materials for one of VSBK’s meetings with clients, BUT heard no more about it
  • I got a project making murals together with schoolchildren (in many ways more of a pedagogical project) thanks to one of the Public Art lunch meetings.
  • I got to make murals with schoolchildren under Creative School during two very intense days (this was thanks to a former watercolour student and I don’t know if I really should count it under public commissions)
  • I was asked to represent an art organisation at the board of VSBK - and declined
sketch (bear) for a commission that didn't happen

Some things have been about to happen, but they didn’t. But being asked and not getting jobs is better than not being asked at all, right? (Before writing this list I felt like I had had absolutely no results, but that’s not totally true) BUT I would be utterly surprised If I manage to get any incomes from making Public Commissioned Art during 2010 (especially considering how slow these projects work)

Recommendation to self
Follow up! Schedule a concentrated effort again in September. Properly document the ongoing mural project with the schoolchildren (good photos!).

Confession: I feel like just forgetting about the whole thing. I need some confirmation that I should continue with this.

Galleries - time and effort invested since November 2009 (I started concentrating on this later than the commissions. Or rather: I did one thing at a time)
  • I have followed up contacts (which I wouldn't have done properly if I hadn't given myself the task for my progress reports)
  • I have defined where I want to exhibit in Gothenburg and started working on that (a slow process)
  • I have defined at what Public Art Galleries (Konsthallar) I want to exhibit in the region
  • I have applied to exhibit separately at one of the above
  • I have together with a colleague applied to exhibit at two galleries
  • I have written a list of where to apply to exhibit - with deadlines
  • I have managed to get some concentrated work in the studio

  • I have made some new materials that I am pleased with - and taken proper photos of them.
  • I have put together what I think will be a really good little separate exhibition opening on the 8th of May. (this will be my 10th separate exhibition)
in the studio

It is too early to see much result yet. It will be interesting to see if the people I want to visit my exhibition will do so (for example: I have one promise and a half promise from the two galleries where I want to exhibit) - and if that will lead somewhere. I haven’t visited galleries as much as I should have - and especially not in other cities. This is partly explained by me "loosing" a month of work in the beginning of the year because of being home with sick child.

Recommendation to self
Follow up. Really DO apply to exhibit in those places on my list. Plan autumn with MORE gallery visits, Stockholm trip etc

Next Sunday I’ll evaluate: Time management and Teaching Art (I've been a bit quite about teaching, but it is an important source of income). I will also have a look at it all in relation to my main goals - should I reconsider my strategies?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

totally different cards

In two weeks my separate exhibition at Göteborgs Konstförening will open and I've gotten myself some new business cards for the occasion. My 5 year old son thought it was a game to play ... or characters to collect. I can't say he's totally wrong: my art is a lot about role-playing and stereotypes...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Now I got my cards!

I almost hugged the postman today when he rang the door and handed me a parcel from Spain. Finally I had gotten my "We are a Happy Family"! (The ashes from the Icelandic volcano had made it impossible to fly to Gothenburg until yesterday ... so a lot of mail ha gotten delayed.)

For the third time I got even more impressed by them; I am so talented! No, just kidding; the quality of the print was so good - the fabric I had scanned for the tablecloth showed in all its details!

Esti has been writing a little text about all the participants on her blog. Here you can order the cards - all proceeds goes to Médecins sans Frontières (Läkare utan gränser).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

cutting papers

today I was trying a new approach for the fishes and birds. In the end they all died ... and then there was suddenly also a little dead mammal - smiling. I'm not working the papers - they are working me!

I still really like Adam Saks, especially his water colours

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

two swallows

Tomorrow I'm off to my studio to work on my own stuff for the first time since the end of February. (that's why I've been so frustrated and angry lately) YES!

I have been trying to come up with some ideas for the Of Fishes and Birds project at home at night - but it's been impossible. I'm hoping the creative atmosphere in my studio - and the possibility to leave everything in a total mess - will help me to come up with some good ideas.

Talking about exciting collaborative projects - you haven't missed to order your deck of We are a Happy Family, have you? I'm impatiently waiting to get mine, cursing that volcano ...

to make you smile: Thomas Allen

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Christine tagged me for 7 random facts about myself and to tag 7 bloggers to do the same. Here it goes:

  1. Seagulls make me think of summer
  2. my favourite colour is all different kind of blues
  3. I've wanted to be an artists for as long as I can remember
  4. I am very talented when it comes to disorder
  5. I love writing to do-lists
  6. I never totally follow the instructions of these tags and will therefore only tag 3 people: Kitty Kilian, Aris and Annamaria
  7. I'm overworked and tired right now
I think that making some sketches tonight might be just what the doctor ordinates ...

Sunday, April 18, 2010


So - it's Sunday and I had promised an Art as Business Post evaluating how I've been progressing since I started with this series...but I had forgotten that I was to work all weekend...

A mini-evaluation: I have a tendency to give myself tasks but not taking into account everything else I am to do! (the day just have 24 hours). Sunday will therefore be tomorrow!

Update: I don't know when Serious Sunday will be - but it's not today. I feel totally unmotivated to blog or think

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

how to turn a day

It turned out to have been too early to declare victory when it came to my tax declaration....something isn't making much sense with my balance sheet. (Why do I always declare victory too early? Maybe to feel victorious at least for a moment?). Yesterday and this morning I was so angry - I want to go to my studio and paint - but in order to sort out numbers you need to stay calm and be concentrated. Not swearing and throwing papers and scaring your family.

So I needed to turn the day.

How to turn a bad day to a good day

1. Give your sister a nice pair of earrings that you received the day before in a package from Christine

2. Borrow your little nephew to hug for a while - and feel the calmness spread in your body

3. make a quick sketch of people you love

4. Go for a coffee with someone who always make you see things in a better light

5. Enjoy the sunlight and listen to the birds singing

Update: the very next day I really saw the light: I understood everything about bookkeeping, found the mistakes and could happily finish it off. Yes, it is true!

Monday, April 12, 2010

here comes the sun

The sun light has been amazing yesterday and today. What do I have to whine about?
  • The new book keeping software is making me happy; everything has been running smoothly and tomorrow I'll make my tax declaration well ahead of time.
  • I have the best of readers at my blog; encouraging me with comments and still coming back even though I suck at giving you any response ... Thank you!
  • Today I got a nice mail in regard to a possible project I considered dead and buried a long time ago. Not any promises, but rather what I considered signs of some appreciation.
... maybe there will be no more rain now?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Art as Business: Progress Report VI

I must say that I feel like I am absolutely not getting anywhere. Or even worse: I move backwards. It’s like playing Monopoly and you are about to reach GO and collect your salary; and you get the card “go directly to jail”.

The other week I learned that the Tenant Owners’ Association won’t order the enamels. They claimed the reason was that they had discovered that they were to renovate the facades very soon – according to their long-time planning. And therefore enamels for the entrances wasn’t the right decision at this moment.

Ah – go directly to jail!

jumping - one-legged (crippled) - to jail.

But one thing I have succeeded with: Cluster! I had clustered all my short courses and guest-teaching to a period of 4 weeks (3 totally different screen printing courses, Manga for kids, Creative school x 3) And this period is now over. But I had totally underestimated the time for preparations and how tired I would get. Combined with all the other things I had scheduled to do it meant that I’ve worked even more than before. Not even ONE night off in the week (and I get up at the very latest 07:15 in the morning) – instead administration in front of the computer and preparations.

Things I’ve done anyway
  • artists statement in Swedish
  • exhibition and grant applications
  • filled up my screen printing course in May (yes!) thanks to proper marketing
  • sent invoices (not bad)
  • hanged an exhibition
But I haven’t done much more. And this blog has fewer readers than ever. And I’m tired. But it always rains the most just before it stops. The sun is somewhere behind the clouds and eventually it will shine on me.

It’s been 6 months since my very first progress report and I think I have better evaluate if - when looking at the bigger picture – I’ve really made any progress according to my plans. Should I do something different? It is not just about doing a lot of tasks. It’s about doing the right ones. Sometimes I have this suspicion that I prioritise wrong.

Next Sunday: Evaluation

Friday, April 09, 2010

could it be love?

Thursday, April 08, 2010

no more snow ...

what to do with your sleigh?

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


I call it Picasso ...

A sudden thought: maybe it could become a bird print for the Of Fishes and Birds Project?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

get your own Happy Family!

The Happy Family card game is released! To get a good look at the cards visit Esti's blog pintameldia where you also find information on how to get your own deck of cards. (I think you'll need to hurry if you want to buy them)

We are a Happy Family is a unique and very special card game, featuring eight international artists: Thereza Rowe, Sarajo Frieden, Lotte Andkilde, Lady Desidia, Pintameldia, Alexandra Hedberg, Aris Moore and Kimberly Laurenti. Box layout was designed by Jorge Fernández. Proceeds will go to Doctors without Borders.

The initiative and original idea are by Esti - and I don't know how to thank her enough for inviting me to participate! Thank you, Esti.

Monday, April 05, 2010

how do you do?

Overwhelmed by work - and commitments - I can't be much present here this week either (no Art as Business until next weekend). But I can promise you a playful cut out every day until Friday!

I made these cut outs when playing around with ideas for the Happy Family card game.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Happy Easter!