I have just had a wonderful week with dear old friends visiting me from Sweden, so when asked to contribute an artist blog I was instantly thinking of what it means to me to be a Swedish artist, living in the UK for many years now.
Years ago people started commenting that they could observe my Swedish (alt. Northern or Scandinavian) origins in my work. At that time I remember being surprised, as I was not aware that my so called cultural identity was particularly evident. Since then, however, I discovered a rich source of inspiration going back both physically and spiritually to my roots to draw on my cultural and personal heritage. From the Millennium year I consciously travelled back to collect and retrieve information, memories and experiences, resulting in a three stage series of exhibitions, “Sources, Symbols & Signs” (Stockport Museum & Art Gallery 2004); “Åter-vinning” (Vännäs Konstförening 2005); “Retrieval” (Buxton Museum & Art Gallery 2006). It was an extraordinary creative and personal journey and eventually something of a relief to have completed it and thus processed my story.
‘Frozen Green House’ and ‘Silver Birch Tree’ from the ‘Celebration’ Triptych 2009;
The Big Thaw I & II (2011); Aurora
In the past five or six years I have felt more of a freedom in how I express myself as a Swedish born artist living in the Peak District. One Christmas (2009) was richly snow laden in the far north of Sweden and I came back with magic images around Advent, Christmas and the New Year.
In the beginning of 2011 I spent some time in the north skiing in the forest, and experienced that amazing time in smells, colours and light which constitutes the sudden shift from winter to spring, the big thaw.
It inspired me to do a very ‘textily’ couple of images showing the actual change in colours and light seen on ground level. I also created a triptych (or more loosely a ‘trio’) called Northern Spring. One of the images came out of a late evening in the very last days of March when the northern light visited unexpectedly over the farm where I grew up. A magic experience.
This year I have been immersing myself more in the magic of the Peak District which is my home of almost ten years, the result of which can be viewed at Smithy Studios’ autumn exhibition “Landmarks, Legends & Legacies”. Welcome to go and have a look!
14th September 2012