You did a “genderless” series. What made you do it and what was your greatest inspiration?
I have always been drawn to androgyny. People like Stella Tennant (may she rest in peace), Erika Lindner, and Tilda Swinton fascinate me endlessly. But I came up with the concept for the genderless series by accident. I once painted a girl I knew who was very androgynous. Once the portrait was done, a lot of people asked me about their gender. This made me realize why I was so drawn to making a portrait of her in the first place: androgyny. This helped me embrace the way I painted people from then on. Of course, it has been 3 years since I started with The Genderless Series and so it has evolved a great deal.In my first works, the people’s bodies were mostly censured, and I felt like my whole concept had to be really clear to the people seeing my works. The concept of holding physically visible gender aspects and focusing on other parts of a person I found more important to highlight. After a lot of realization and experience, I understood that gender isn’t only something physical. And then I started to paint certain body parts I didn’t dare approach before.
More and more, art is shifting to the digital space, because it is easier to produce. But oil on canvas makes every work an inimitable one-off. What difficulties do you see working in a society that wants everything to be as fast, cheap, and easy as possible? Are we losing sight of value?
The difficulty I notice with this fast-cheap-easy-society we live in, is that some old art forms are forced to adapt. I am not saying that painting shouldn’t adapt to today’s world, (on the contrary!), Even though it is one of art’s oldest medias, it is still changing and renewing itself continuously. But we have come to a certain expectation of how fast works should be made, and how sellable they are, and what we have to do to be able to survive as a painter. I feel like people tend to forget that a painting only exists once. There can be no copy of it. The triggering part of this, is that a painting is not something that people need to have in their homes to physically survive, but they do live happier with it.Perhaps if paintings were more valued again, this world would have more of a reason to exist.
All in all, what have you learned this last year?
Setting my boundaries, choosing my priorities. I don’t look back at it as a lost year, not at all. I did a lot of things I probably wouldn’t have done without the lockdowns we had. But my biggest accomplishment was learning to just take a breath every once in a while and not feel guilty about the art of doing absolutely nothing.