Pop Up Gallery Opening


Here’s what it look like outside of the new gallery and art studio last night. We had a couple of dozen invitees, a few good friends and some art-curious passerbyers join us for what turned out to be a very lovely grand opening.

New Book and Invitation to Gallery Opening


Finally, finally, finally. My new book is now available for order on Amazon. I have been documenting an incredibly remarkable area called Sieng Gong along the Chao Phraya River near Bangkok’s Chinatown. Last fall, I finished the documentation and now you can order the book “Heavy Metal” on Amazon.se or Amazon.com.

Some of the book’s pictures will be shown during tomorrow’s open house at our new Pop Up Gallery between 16:30-20:00 on Hallenborgs Gata 12. Welcome!

non-figurative photography

Re-learning, Re-teaching, Re-tooling, Oh My!

I’m often naively optimistic, which is probably a good thing. But re-teaching myself or re-tooling my mind to create de-constructed, non-figurative images is proving to be a lot more challenging than I expected. The Resurfaaced project has definitely helped remind me of my younger years as a non-figurative painter. But all those years as a reasonably skilled photographer are also making it hard to not feel and express what I can’t see through a traditional “lens”.

The strive for an aesthetically pleasing composition has become so deeply ingrained, that I have to work hard to free myself from such limiting constraints.

From time to time, I can almost hear how new neuro pathways are being created in my head as I force myself to veer off the path where structure, planning, and met expectations ultimately lead to boredom and indifference.

Vegan Burger

The Vegan Burger

Whenever there’s an opportunity to order a burger, regardless of where in the world I am, and there’s nothing else on the menu that tickles my fancy, nine times out of ten, I’ll order one.

How many burgers I’ve eaten in my lifetime? I’m guessing that the very first one was likely served to me when I was 4 or 5 years of age.

In a few months, I’ll be 60.

Of the 55 years since my very first bite, I would wager that I’ve on average eaten two burgers per month. So, 24 (per year) x 55 (years) = 1320 hamburgers.

The vegan burger above was from tonight’s dinner at The Vegan Bar here in Malmö. Yeah, it was pretty good. The patty was of some soy construction and not nearly as juicy, chewy, or smokey as I would have preferred. And that bun…oh boy, not having sesame seeds on a hamburger bun was just plain weird. That said, the chili mayo and potato fries did a good job of compensating for the dinner’s pseudo hamburger. Missed pickles, though. 🍔

Return of Raboff the Artist

Return of Raboff the Artist

I am slowly making my way through the mental and physical hurdles that painting has thrown at me during the last few weeks. I can feel a less anxious, less insecure approach and noticeably more fluidity when ideas pass from my mind to my hand.

Much like with writing, the only thing I know for sure is that what I create in the very beginning will likely evolve and perhaps even go through a complete metamorphosis before I’m satisfied with what I’ve created.

And that’s what makes painting so much more interesting (and inherently challenging) than photography. There is no moment to capture, no idea so strong that it can’t be budged or shift shape, color and elements.

But you know what the best part of being in front of a giant canvas again is? That it’s not a screen. The fact that I am spending less and less time in front of a computer feels wonderfully liberating.

Liljevalchs Vårsalong 2023

Liljevalchs Spring Salon 2023

I took this photograph yesterday, just after Elle and I were leaving one of Sweden’s most famous art institutions, Liljevalch’s Art Museum. We had walked about 40 minutes to get there, mostly through an intense snowstorm. And even if the museum was packed, the warmth was nonetheless welcome.

Judging from the large amount of visitors yesterday, Liljevalch’s Spring Salon 2023 will quite possibly be the most popular art exhibit in Sweden this year. Because of the crowds, we only got a chance to see some of the 298 pieces on display and as per the museum’s famous/infamous tradition, the breadth and depth is simultaneously narrow, wide, deep, and shallow. Very little of what we saw was mindblowing or emotionally gripping, but I did find one or two colorful paintings that inspired me.

We continued the day’s cultural theme further down the road with first a warm lunch and then a walk through the several exhibits at the Nordic Museum (Nordiska Muséet).

Finally, after some rest at the hotel, we went to a cineplex at Hay Market and saw the brutally funny new film, Cocaine Bear.

Today, we’re getting back on the tracks again and heading down south to Malmö.

Lisa Elmqvist Shrimp Sandwich

Lisa’s Shrimp Sandwich

If you visit this page with some regularity, you know that one of my many weaknesses is the classic shrimp sandwich. I don’t remember when this life-long love affair began, but I’ll wager it was well over 40 years ago. I don’t eat them as often as I used to, mostly because a well-made shrimp sandwich has become really hard to find. At Lisa Elmqvist the other day, my daughter Elle and I relished in what we both agreed was possibly the best shrimp sandwich we’d ever eaten. The portions were just shy of preposterously generous, the hand-peeled shrimp were plump, perfectly salted, deliciously juicy, and chewy.

This legendary restaurant has been around for close to 100 years and is located in one of my favorite Swedish food markets, Östermalmshallen. This over the 135-year-old indoor market is in itself a multi-sensory pleasure well worth experiencing.

The service at Lisa Elmqvist is unequivocally top-notch. However, since the restaurant has always been super-busy during my visits there, the servers have next to no time to present the dishes they serve or even spend a little time interacting with their guests. Which is a pity as that would certainly have added to the culinary delightfulness.

Regardless, I still think this is one of Stockholm’s best casual restaurants. And if you want to treat yourself to a luxurious shrimp sandwich for lunch or dinner, preferably with a glass of chilled Chablis, Lisa Elmqvist will certainly not disappoint. Highly recommendable.

St Paul's Bakery

St Paul’s Bakery

Earlier today, Elle suggested we have lunch at what is arguably one of Stockholm’s most popular cafés, St Paul’s Bageri (bakery), located on one of the capital’s legendary streets, Götgatan.

While the brewed coffee was flavorful and the grilled Focaccia with feta and sun-dried tomatoes tasted surprisingly good, it was this beautifully designed retro lamp that captivated most of my attention during our lunch.

Elle Agnes Raboff and Joakim Lloyd Raboff in Stockholm

Elle and I in Stockholm

Elle took this selfie yesterday on Riksbron, the ancient bridge that leads to the Swedish Parliament building. It’s been 5 years since Elle and I went on a trip together and after some back and forth, we decided to return to one of our favorite destinations, Stockholm.

Resurfaced: Berlin Wall

Resurfaced: Berlin Wall

This Resurfaced artifact isn’t from the famous/infamous Berlin Wall, but it is from a Berlin wall. I usually take my time going through my captures after returning home and this is one of a few that will remain in the collection. In about an hour, daughter Elle and I are boarding a train to Stockholm. We’ll be focused on the Swedish capital’s visual arts scene for a couple of days. It’s been a while since the two of us were in Stockholm together. The last time was possibly as far back as 2007.

Resurfaced: Georgia is in trouble with Russia (again).

Resurfaced: Georgia in trouble with Russia (again)

Shot this Resurfaced artifact in the Georgian capital. While at the gym this morning, I heard a BBC report from Tbilisi that caught my attention. The ongoing protests near the parliament (which was near where I stayed when I was there) are about new, authoritarian legislature focused on quieting journalists and media outlets from reporting critically about the government.

According to a couple of the protesters interviewed by the BBC, the suggested new law is in sync with a pro-Russian movement and designed to please Putin and potentially ease the way for a future re-annexation. Since Georgia is vying for EU membership and most citizens would prefer to distance themselves from Russia, this is not good news. Currently, 20% of Georgia’s internationally recognized territory is already under Russian military occupation. 

International Women's Day 2023

International Women’s Day 2023

To all my female friends out there, I wish you all the happiest and most joyous International Women’s Day 2023.

Above all, I would like to congratulate you all on this day for being so incredibly tolerant and patient. How you manage to put up with us men is in itself such a tremendous accomplishment and certainly worthy of more than just one day of celebration a year.

I have been in awe of women for a long, long time, despite having mostly really bad experiences with the first woman in my life, my mother.

The second woman to enter my life was my grandmother Agnes and she taught me what unconditional, accepting love was all about.

The third woman in my life is my wife Charlotte, another unbelievably patient individual who has selflessly loved (and put up with) me for more than a quarter century. The fourth female is unequivocally a young woman in the making, our daughter Elle.

My love for Berlin

Why I Love Berlin

I know I say this about a lot of places, but I really do love Berlin, even in early March when winter is still firmly gripping this mostly grey, gritty city. What Berlin lacks in color and aesthetic consistency, it easily compensates eclectically with exceptional vibrance.

As with most metropolises, Berlin is not very representative of the country in which it is the capital of. Sure, the basic German societal structural stuff is here, too. But the famously rigid Recht und Ordnung coexists symbiotically, if not friendlily, with a level of capricious chaos and reasonably peaceful anarchy I’ve not experienced in any other German city. Come to think of it, in any city I’ve ever been to so far (342 and counting).

Every visit to Berlin feels both liberating and inspiring. And even as I grow older and my interests and needs evolve, I still find plenty of stuff to keep me coming back. Currently it’s the contemporary art scene along Augustenstraße in the Mitte district.

Much like New York and to a lesser degree London and Paris, what I think makes Berlin so remarkable is the longevity of its allure. Much of which is achieved through a unique,  indiscriminate ability and fearless inclination to evolve and reinvent itself as times change. I love how Berlin refuses to be defined, be boxed in or become boring. Which is a frame of mind I can dig into wholeheartedly.

Resurfaced Berlin

Resurfaced: Berlin

Captured this yesterday from a tall sign completely covered with tattered stickers. posters and papers near Alexanderplatz here in Berlin. It’s the fact that I am continuously and feverishly fascinated by the abundance of public postings in our digital age.

Ich bin ein Berliner

In Berlin

I’m currently in Berlin for a couple of days. I’ve not been back to the German capital since 2018, so I’m psyched about being here again. Since I experienced all of the classic tourist places several years ago, the focus of my most recent visits has been on exploring the city’s art scene in the plethora of contemporary art galleries, primarily on Auguststraße and adjacent side streets. Despite the nippy weather, I’ve already captured several Resurfaced candidates. The district I’m staying in this time around, Mitte, seems to have a wealth of walls packed with layered, fragmented postings. The above view is from the hotel’s deserted rooftop lounge.

849 North Alfred Street in West Hollywood

The Old House on 849 North Alfred Street

The house on 849 North Alfred Street, where I partially grew up, is no more. According to brother Nick, it’s been torn down, demolished, and removed. A tiny part of me was saddened by the news. That’s to be expected, I suppose. But for the most part, I feel nothing, zilch, zero.

The house on 849 North Alfred Street was one of several homes I lived in during my first years, including stints in Sweden, and as I recall it, it was the first place my parents didn’t rent. For the most part, it was me, my mother, my brother Tyko and two consecutive dogs, first Coco and then Todo, that lived in the house on Alfred. In 1977, we moved about a block east to a smaller house at 842 Croft Avenue.

My father lived in the house on Alfred too, but not longer than a couple of years after we had moved in. Sometime in 1969, my father became romantically involved with a younger woman who had rented one of our house’s upstairs apartments and moved out with her in tow.

Now, among those few positive memories I retain from 849 North Alfred Street is when my grandmother Agnes flew over from Sweden. She was a sweet, simple woman with a huge heart, and having her over for a month on two, possibly on three separate occasions, if memory serves me correctly, was a tremendous treat for me. Not only was Agnes always kind and soft-spoken, but her presence also provided me with some well-needed respite from being blamed for my father abandoning the family and the wide wake of anger that possessed my mother until she died in 1978.

My grandfather Eskil also came to visit once or maybe twice while we were living on Alfred. But he and I never connected much. He was an OG, Old School kinda guy who was craggy, coarse, and tough as nails. Just getting him to board a plane must have been an Olympic feat.

I walked by Alfred during my latest visit to L.A. last October and barely recognized the house. The picture above is from 1987, or about a decade after we had moved out. It clearly shows how the house’s exterior was in shambles at the time and in much, much worse shape than when we lived there (1967-1977).

When I saw the old house last year, there was a television crew filming some show across the street and several unmarked semis lined the empty sidewalks on both Alfred and the alley behind. So I never took a picture of the house. But as the building looked like it was in pretty good shape, I was a bit surprised to hear that it had been torn down. Then again, it was probably over 75 years old and likely cheaper to demolish to make way for a new condo complex than restore.

C’est la vie. 

Malmö Winter Morning

Malmö Winter Morning

This is image shows some of what remains of Malmö’s heavy industries. Much of this area is being developed into a new residential and commercial neighborhood called the Northern Harbor (as opposed to the Western Harbor, where we live). I remember it being extraordinarily cold that winter morning and how a combination of fog and frozen mist lay over this part of Malmö. According to recent forecasts, it looks like we’ll likely be getting some snow this coming week. Brrr.

My viral photograph of fog around Turning Torso.

Viral Fog Photo of Turning Torso

I am close to clueless when it comes to how social media works. Probably because there’s so little organic logic involved as the algorithms at play are designed to create stickiness and generate engagement. They are the secret sauce that keeps billions of people glued to their screens for hours and hours. Like most folks, I have a dualistic relationship with social media.

My Facebook page, I Love Västra Hamnen has about 16,000 followers and I have absolutely no idea why some images muster 1,000 thumbs up and some only summon 240 likes, or less.

The other day, I noticed how foggy it was and eventually posted an image of the Turning Torso as the fog was about to let up a bit. For some reason, that particular photograph was appreciated by over 11,000 people. Now, I like the image, for sure. But is it really worthy of so many accolades? Go figure.

End of February – A new hope

End of February: Signs of Spring

Captured the above sunset last night. Though short, February is my least favorite month. But once we kiss it goodbye, especially down here in the south where winters are, well, meh, I begin to look for early signs of spring.


News in the Works

The plot thickens. Lots going on right now. Breaking news coming any day now. A new chapter. A new era. A new focus. A new space. I’ve always considered myself a painter that got sidetracked by other creative stuff. Well, finally, I’m back on track again. Compared with the instant gratification of photography and the often hypnotic attraction of filmmaking, painting is for the most part tedious, challenging hard work, mentally, emotionally, and physically. But in the long run and especially in today’s flippant flow of infinite visuals, artwork that exists outside the digital realm is less ephemeral and an important🙂 reminder of an age-old, creative expression unique to our species.