Interview by Victoria Bennardi, WOFART, 11/8 2020.
How long have you painted?
I was painting and drawing as a kid and teenager, but was a very restless youth. I couldn't sit still for long, so frankly, I didn't paint or draw that much. As an adult, I didn't paint again before around 5 years ago when I went to art school for 2 years.
I got very demotivated when studying art and stopped painting for some years. I couldn't produce anything with someone watching over my shoulder and learning the «do's» and «don'ts».
It made my paintings feel like cages. Prisons. I got so frustrated and furious and it felt like a dead end. Getting some time away from school and forgetting some of what I had learned, I picked up the brushes again in summer 2019. Everything felt different. It felt free and unforced. No rules, no judgement, just me and the path ahead.
Where are you based?
I am based in the capital of Norway, Oslo, right next to the forest. However, I am a small-town girl born and raised in Gjøvik, 140km north of Oslo.
How do you feel about faces? As it is what you paint the most?
Faces. It is so fascinating how we have all these muscles in the face for the purpose of showing our emotions, yet we so often try to hide them and some people hide their feelings so well. I would like to shave away people's facades as well as my own. What are we really feeling? Show me your weakness, your sadness and your anger. I am trying my best to capture the raw emotion.
Where does your inspiration come from?
From so much! I can only mention some of it:
find so much inspiration in nature. I live by the forest and run there practically every day. The beauty and tranquillity in nature and all the amazing details in its ecosystem are astounding. I connect with myself being alone and undisturbed in nature like that. The vague ideas that were foggy and indecipherable come together to a more tangible feeling for me, becoming something I can transmit to the canvas.
I find so much great inspiration in amazing music as well. There are such incredible amounts of beautiful music created by talented and inspiring people. I am using music to set a mood before I am starting to paint. To be honest I listen to music almost all day, except when running outside. I always paint to music and am very careful about what I choose to get in the right mood. Every painting has its own soundtrack. If I find a song that I feel is a perfect match for what I am trying to convey, then I will listen to that specific song on repeat until the painting is done.
All the incredible literature that has been written too, it's so inspiring! I really love old, classics from the 1800 and early 1900.
Some people inspire me a lot. Deep people with almost endless layers in their personality and an amazing range of emotions. I get so fascinated by the complexity of certain people. It is an endless source of inspiration.
As with most painters, my own inner life affects how I paint very much. Both emotions from the past, in the present and feelings I imagine for the future. The paintings are a lot like pages in a diary in that sense. My hopes, my dreams and my nightmares are all in there, and it can sometimes be a challenge to unveil yourself like that.
Is there anything mysterious about the way you represent the faces of people?
Hmm, I don't know if it is mysterious, but each face is very personal to me. All these feelings each and every one of us have without most people around us knowing or bothering to notice. The colours I choose often represent these «hidden» feelings. It's not always a conscious choice for me at the moment. Very little about my painting is planned, but the compositions of colours always have a deep meaning to me.
Most of the paintings are works that I have to make. It's like a very strong urge sometimes. An itch that needs to be scratched. Ventilation for my overfilled mind. It is like a dam of emotions about to burst. Stormy waters and tornadoes inside, or maybe a dark void, or exploding excitement or a flood of tender feelings. They all have to come out somehow.
What do you like the most in painting the faces of people?
What I like the most about painting the faces of people is how the painting can represent so many different things, depending on the person looking at it. Their past, their state of mind, their personality, everything has an influence on how they look at things. I feel that how they interpret my painting say a lot about them, and I find it so fascinating. I love when people tell me what the paintings make them feel!