Svenska Bildkonstnären

Swedish Artists’ Association Magazine
My art is prominently featured on the cover and in an article in the Swedish Artists’ Association’s latest print magazine. I had totally forgotten about the article, so it was as a very pleasant surprise when I opened the mailbox yesterday.
#humbled #artwork #swedishart #americanartist #santamonicaimages #visualartist #svenskakonstnärer #svenskakonstnärsförbundet
Resurfaced: Faded Elated

Resurfaced: Unfaded & Elated

As a younger artist, whenever I honestly and seriously delved into a creative project, almost any kind of exhibition project, and then discovered how much I enjoyed working on it no matter how long it took to complete, I would typically find it hard to understand how anyone could possibly think otherwise. Some might call this obsessive, borderline narcissistic behavior, and maybe it is. But art is demanding and if you aren’t fully immersed and don’t believe what you’re working on is the most important thing in your life, I wonder if what you produce is actually worth working on in the first place.

Honest art, as opposed to decorative art, is demanding, ruthless, and usually misunderstood.

While the passion wasn’t exactly overpowering, I remember often feeling an intoxicating surge of happiness that made me want to share the discovery and the ensuing enthusiasm with anybody willing to listen to me.

In retrospect, I realize that it might as well have been my enthusiasm rather than the creative output that generated the positive feedback. I’ve spoken at some length with fellow artists about this phenomenon which is in some distant way related to subliminally creating hysteria. Enthusiasm is undeniably smiting and I am just as guilty as anyone else for getting excited about the excitement rather than the work it has exuded.

My ongoing “Resurfaced” series is a great example of this occurrence. I honestly don’t think most people really get the concept but are nonetheless thrilled to be smitten by my enthusiasm for it. This might be a reflection of how little enthusiasm they have in their lives, but that’s a whole different topic for another post.

The pursuit for new artifacts for the Resurfaced series is unwavering, regardless of how commercially viable the project turns out to be. The voice of reason has long left the building. And creatively, that’s a good thing.

The piece above is from a wall in the Saint Pauli district of Hamburg, Germany.

Resurfaced Hamburg

Resurfaced in Hamburg Hauptbahnhof

A Resurfaced piece from a past visit to the Saint George neighborhood where Hamburg’s Hauptbahnhof, the city’s beautifully gritty main train station is located.

Hugo and Christina's wedding getaway car, a shiny Bentley

Hugo & Christina’s Wedding

Charlotte and I counted that all-in-all, so far, we’ve attended 9 weddings. That’s including our own. This snapshot is from Saturday’s fairytale wedding outside of Saint Alban’s Church in Copenhagen where my cousin Per’s son Hugo and his lovely Christina were married. It was a most beautiful day full of sunshine and love.

Painting Again

Painting Again

Painting again. It’s been way too long since I last held a brush against a canvas. Might have been in the late summer of 2019, a month or so before we left for Vietnam – which seems like such a long time ago now. The pandemic really time-warped life.

second amendment

Second Amendment Insanity

That so many flag-waving Americans hold the Second Amendment so dearly to their heart is really hard for me to grasp. It’s Second Amendment insanity if you ask me. The Bill of Rights amendment was ratified in 1791, a long, long time ago when bears, mountain lions, and outlaws were omnipresent. It was an era when being an owner of slaves and a misogynist were both acceptable and admired behavior. It was over 200 fucking years ago.

I totally understand that the Second Amendment has been weaponized politically. It’s all about belonging to the movement. And that the masses that don’t understand why automatic rifles and military-grade weapons should not be so readily available to them simply don’t have the capacity to look beyond their mental rigidity. Well, I get that, too.

The federal legislators in D.C. need to be reminded of how the regulations put in place within the automotive industry – from seatbelts, and airbags to speed limits – have literally saved millions of lives.

Whenever I read or hear about the idiots that insist on being able to stock up on AK-47s, mostly out of principle, I think of this wonderfully poignant sketch.

shredding eras

Shedding and Shredding

The symbolism of the curling paint was too irresistible to not write a few words about here. It made me think of a key recurring theme in my life; the inevitable shedding and shredding of one-layered era to make room for the next – and the imagined promises a new coat of paint hopefully yields creatively and emotionally (and, with hard work and some luck, also financially).

climate change in hurricane season

Washed Ashore

Speaking of the Salton Sea, here’s a new composition themed on climate which is something I actually think heavy-heartedly about from time to time. The main photo with the washed ashore motorboat was captured somewhere near Bombay Beach while the hurricane in the background was created for dramatic effect.

#climatechange #hurricaneseason #environment #composition

Home on wheels with a seview

Home on Wheels with a View

With age comes change. Sometimes it sneaks up and before you realize it, a shift in attitude has evolved. That’s kind of how I feel about campers and RVs. I’m warming up to the idea of the vehicle as a travel-living concept and the practicalities of modern iterations of it. The illustration above was created from an actual photograph of an abandoned camper on a beach in Greece. When I saw it standing there, just feet from the edge of the water, I was reminded of my visits to the Salton Sea in Southern California.

Canola Fields in Southern Sweden

Canola Blooming

Took the train to Ängelholm yesterday afternoon and so many of the landscapes we passed along the way had blooming canola fields. I like this time of year here in the “deep south” with all these bright yellow flowers under a beautiful blue sky. It’s so surreal that just looking at them makes me feel hopeful. 

Resurfaced Copenhagen Dnemark

Resurfaced: Copenhagen

I still feel refreshingly liberated when I can focus entirely on the Resurfaced project. This might sound a little weird for someone that doesn’t suffer from Compulsory Photography Syndrome. But since I do suffer from “CPS”, not taking shots of buildings, food, flowers, people, sunsets, and whatnot as they appear, is quite the challenge.

The above piece is from somewhere near Copenhagen’s Central Station (Københavns Hovedbanegård) where the sidewalk side of the capital’s urban environment is often wonderfully dilapidated and has a lovely patina.

Talat Noi

Talat Noi

From my series of images from the fuming, greasy, and always interesting Talat Noi in Bangkok, Thailand. At some point, I intend to exhibit a selection of these images and film sequences that I’ve shot almost every time I’ve ever been there.

cherry blossom sakura stockholm

Cherry Trees in Stockholm

Short visit to Stockholm for the biannual Affordable Art Fair. On my way from the train station I walked through Kungsträdgården, a popular urban park where a few dozen cherry trees were in full bloom and photographed by hundreds of locals and tourists.

We have plenty of cherry trees in Skåne, but when I noticed that quite a few of those capturing the trees ephemeral splendor were from Asia, I was reminded of a visit to Tokyo during April many moons ago when the sakura trees were flowering.

Resurfaced Kyiv Ukraine

Resurfaced: Walls of Kyiv

I keep returning to Kyiv and my resurfaced artifacts collected during my stay there. Many of which will likely be gone already and certainly by the time I return one day. The printed, handwritten notes would be interesting to know what they say.

Sushi

Post Easter Sushi

After all the fat and salty salmon, wide varieties of pickled herring and all kinds of adult beverages we’ve ingested during the Easter holiday, I really wouldn’t mind a simple sushi meal. The above composition is from a dinner at a popular restaurant chain in Asia called Fuji. The food is pretty decent and though not visible here, Fuji makes a tempura shrimp dish that is surprisingly crisp, crunchy and delightfully tasty.

Resurfaced Hanging Around

Resurfaced: Hanging Around

Here’s a new version of a previously published Resurfaced artifact from Krakow, Poland captured last year.

Looking at the piece made me think of all stuff going on in the world right now. At this stage, I’m a relatively seasoned navigator when there’s a global crisis. My main strategy is to just not get too absorbed or too involved, and, most importantly, to remember that throughout human history, there has always been a bunch of crisis. That’s kind of our specialty. At least since we became such a dominent force on the planet.

And while the media tries really hard to grab my attention by sensationalizing anything it can, I find that focusing less on all of what I am being fed is probably the best way for me to remain sane. I totally empathize with those in the midst of war, famine and poverty, but I have to be rational with my emotional “investments”.

All that said, I do check the Guardian and the New York Times several times a day, but never any of the tabloids or online news channels. Too much sensationalizing. I am a daily viewer of David Letterman’s and Jimmy Kimmel’s excellent Youtube channels, for some well-needed comic relief.

But no matter how hard I try to avoid getting sucked into the flow of negative news, it’s impossible to not see how much shit is hitting the fan right now. Funny, I was convinced that once Humpty Trumpty left office, things would slowly but surely go back to “normal”. That even the threat of climate change would somehow magically fade away. Instead, we have a different madman from the east wrecking havoc, trying to divide and conquer the world. And now new variants of the coronavirus are steadily popping up and while currently quiet, I’m pretty sure Greta will soon remind us of the imminent threat caused by global warming.

From a zoomed out perspective, I think this is an increasingly interesting time to be alive. To be hanging around.

Resurfaced: Yellow Wall 42

Resurfaced: Yellow Wall 42

Another recently discovered artifact from the yet-to-be-fully-sorted part of my Resurfaced archives from Eastern Europe. If you’ve not seen the growing collection of surfaces from across the continent, click here.

Stora Hult

CHILLY STORA HULT

From earlier today along the beach. Back from a quick overnight visit to the country house in Stora Hult where a wintery wind chilled to the bone. The sun did provide an inkling of a delayed spring yet to arrive.

Entrance in Tirana Albania

OLD & SOULFUL IN ALBANIA

Speaking of old & soulful in Albania…stumbled across this gorgeous entrance while in Tirana. Not sure, but those pompous staircases could mean the building was built way before the communist era. The crazy wiring reminded me of Bangkok and Hyderabad.

Speaking of Bangkok…I rewatched about half of the young Leonardo DiCaprio’s film The Beach a few nights ago. The scenes filmed in the Thai capital are surprisingly accurate to how I remember the very first time I checked into one of the many cheap guesthouses on Khao San Road. The wafer-thin walls of the room I slept in the noisy neighbors, the cockroaches, and the carefree lifestyle the then 25-year-old version of me led.

Cold War Bunker

Cold War Bunker

 I recently experienced something really unpleasant. In a narrow, steep alley, I met a man my age and his son who was maybe nine or ten years old. They were on their way up the alley and I was on my way down. At our inevitable meeting, the son suddenly lost his balance and fell to the ground right in front of me. I automatically bent down and lifted the boy up and when he was standing on firm legs again, I gave him a pat on one shoulder to sort of telling him that everything was ok. Then I continued down the alley.

But everything wasn’t ok.

After a short while, I heard how the father became completely furious with his son. First, he yelled so loud that it echoed between the house walls and then he started hitting his son with several hard blows on his boy’s little back. The boy received his father’s anger in silence. At least to begin with. But the barely audible moaning soon turned into loud, heartbreaking screams. It was awful to listen to and I’m ashamed that I didn’t turn around and stop the father’s brutal beatings.

I identified with the boy’s fate and was deeply touched by what had just happened. It took a long time before I regained my balance in mind and heart. I hoped the boy was comforted and loved by his mother or siblings. And that the father left him alone. Maybe the boy could sneak away and call a kind grandfather or grandmother. I can always hope.

The other day I read an analysis of Putin’s transformation from a pious, well-meaning leader with the aim of uniting Mother Russia with Europe into an angry and bloodthirsty tyrant. Nowhere in the analysis was a word about his childhood or how his relationship with his father or mother was. As if it would not affect Putin later in life.

The image above is from the entrance to a mountain bunker that the paranoid, Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha had built in the 1970s for himself, his family, and the country’s leading politburo. while I was there, the abused boy I had met and all the abused children in the world, were there with me underground. More images from the bunker can be seen here.