During the section: "Roots" I invite you behind my life as an artist, starting with my first series of paintings on canvas, "Tønder-serie" from 1989 - 90, where I jumped out into a new life and for the first time called myself: "Artist ". How and why did I start painting? Here I go further back in time and tell you how it all began by drawing step by step until one day I inevitably recognized, that my art is necessary for me to be myself, so the chronology goes backwards and ends with a final drawing dating back to 1978, but again time depends on the chronology of the selected images, that jump a little compared to the time and the relevant themes.
The Tønder series were my first paintings on canvas. I had left Karin, the girl I lived with, had left my teacher studies, left my job as head coach in Tønder swim club and had moved into the collective "Frigrunden", which was a real "hippie house" with a long history behind it as such . Everything was a little too acidic but fun and with many flippy parties. I had left everything that had bound me and had started a new life: Now I was a real artist! A word that was hard to pronounce without joke with it. Away was the sporting image that I now replaced by a more open hippie image. It wasn't hard, because I already had these ideas inside me, and soon I was much more of a George Harrison type. I removed from everything I had previously been a part of, but it was a necessary development to free myself from all limitations and begin to explore myself in my new life as an artist. But now, let me briefly introduce you to the paintings in the Tønder series:
Of course, the first painting represented a leap out of the soft forms of security in which a woman is crying. That was how I left her, but here she is painted with black hair to avoid the exact reference to her a little.
Next painting: "Homeless" was a good expression of my own homelessness. I was simply not ready to show my face yet.
The "Daydreamer" is the start of my adventure, filled with anxiety, isolation and mystery. It represents myself with a cigarette in the hand of a flying blanket heading into a gloomy figure from the subconscious.
"Leaving Tønder" was of course my goodbye to Tønder. Shortly after, I traveled to Copenhagen to settle down there as an art painter. The empty wooden box was my only piece of furniture I had in the collective with two mattresses, but I left it and moved to Copenhagen with 2 mattresses, my painter's equipment, stereo and my bike.
"The Hole Painter" tells the story of my first time in Copenhagen, where I lived in a small 8 m2 room on Matthæusgade in Vesterbro, which I had rented from a homosexual couple. The picture shows just a painter who works with six paintings, which was the number of paintings from the Toender series.
"Satisfaction" was the last painting in the series. Here I experimented with a painting knife. It was supposed to be a painting of my relationship with my then girlfriend, Rita.
The last 2 paintings shown here are not officially part of the Tønder series, but there were two extra canvases I bought right after I moved to Copenhagen.
"The flying four-poster bed" was a painting of coming to the stone bridge, which means: To Copenhagen. Just before I moved to Copenhagen, I had had an affair and had fallen in love with Rita from Tønder, and although she still lived in Tønder, we had a couple of good weekends together anyway, and wrote long warm letters to each other. In that time I painted: "The flying four-poster bed" and the painting: "Time". The last picture: "Time" indicates that I knew it was just a matter of time before the relationship would end. She was 7 years older than me, was single mother of two girls and lived in Tønder, so it was not a relationship I was going to build on.
my first paintings and the prehistory
A changed existential condition
In 1981, I was affected by a stroke believed to have arisen from a combination of over-exercise in sports, puberty and a supposed narrowing of a blood vessel in the brain. When I woke up after 10 days in a coma, I found myself paralyzed in my left side. I remember my first thought was, "What about the upcoming training camp?" But pretty soon I had to realize that my life with competition swimming was irrevocably over. It was difficult because I had spent all my time swimming and all my friends were from the swimming club. In fact, everything in my life was turned upside down, but fortunately I could continue my school in the same class, even though I spent 8th grade at home. A year later, I was affected by epilepsy due to surgery after the stroke. Afterwards there were few problems with my balance on the left leg and the fingers of my left hand that teased me, but what can look like small problems when one is adult may be major problems as a teenager. So I tried with all my will and power to hide any deviations that my misfortune had cost me.
The beginning - Oil on paper 58 x 42 cm. 1989
My left hand
The beginning "was also really the beginning of my artistic career, or in another way: here I realized that I wanted to live my life as an art painter. It was a categorical decision, and I have since been uncompromising with my decision. The image depicts a deformed left hand straight up against the light, at the top of the index finger I have painted a globe like telling: I want to come out and experience the whole world.
The scenario is like the edge of a globe where one sees a hand trying to hold onto the ground to avoid the abyss while there are legs floating around the globe. In other words, I was preparing for a step that would cost me friendships and probably lead me to stand alone, which also proved to be true within the next two years.
Using my left hand as a motif was a powerful awareness-raising exercise for me. I had since, since I, as a 14 year old, because of an accident been affected by small deviations at my left hand. So my hand, which was undoubtedly my tenderest point, had suddenly wanted to paint so deformed that no one could mistake the deformity unless it was explained as a kind of surrealistic event. During that time, I studied Freud's dream interpretation and was thrilled with Salvador Dali, so it was not distant to attribute the motive to surrealistic ideas, but even I had inner certainty about what it was really about.
During the night while working with my painting, I had a very powerful visual dream that told me to take my painting equipment, stereo and books and leave the girl I lived with, leave my teacher training and start a new life as artist.
As dreamed I did and moved into the collective Frigrunden, where other artists, musicians and hippie types lived. Here my life begins as a full-time artist. I have never added any kind of deformation to the deformed hand, but continued to attach to the motif some surrealistic meanings and unfortunately I also continued to hide my hand from the outside world. It is not until now at the age of 51 that I allow myself to give my hand the right meaning: Only now do I recognize that with the painting I opened a valve or a channel that I have been able to and can communicate with without putting concrete words on. It was already such a good feeling that I couldn't do anything but dedicate my life to doing just that. So I started my life as an artist because I couldn't do anything else, and the same is true today. To express myself visually is a basic need, it is my way of dealing with life, my navigator in an eternal chaos.
The most relevant artistic identification in my world is therefore existentialism with all its personal weight, where Kierkegaard was already my great source of inspiration in 1989.
I would have been an architect like my father
My parents gave me my first set of oil paint for my 22nd birthday 1989. The painting here was one of the very first paintings I made, and the feeling of creating the image and the expressive power in me overwhelmed me completely again. I expressed something that I had difficulty putting into words. My father was an architect with his own company. He had a great authority with many important actions behind him. Physically, he had the form of a respectful man with a large full beard, which also the man on the painting has. I had always thought my father expected me to be an architect so that the painting with the freezing little blue boy sitting in an architect's drawing expresses my utter frustration that I never became an architect, I was not at all in doubt. My father gave me these oil colors, and I delivered this painting in front of him, it made me a little nervous, so I didn't comment much about it when I showed it to him.
Frontpage for my workbook at the drawing office from the school practice
I was in school practice as an architect at my father's architect studio (Saar's Tegnestue ApS in 1983. Here I learned something about the architect's work and architecture.
Most of all I loved the environment among the architects, I liked that I could use the office computers and various tools for my own cartoon drawings. However, there was something in me that told me that I probably should not be an architect, anyway: I had, for example, No interest in houses or in any kind of construction. The drawing work was a passion for me, but I couldn't figure out how to live on my interest in cartoon drawings. Cartoons drawing was not a serious business, so I chose instead to study for a teacher in 1988. But I took both the symbols and the basic principles of the architecture, together with my fascination for cartoon with me as part of my artistic expression and skill , and I still enjoy the fruits of this period of my life.
Natural life is being threten by electronic media
The computer transform children into squares!
"Interaction" from 1989 is one of my first paintings, where as a teacher student I was very involved in children's development. I was aware and worried about the growing influence that electronic media began to gain. A subject that still occupies me today: What do the electronic media do to us and what does it mean for people's way of being together? Here I painted the child as a square existence in front of the computer screen, which tells something about what I meant about it.
Television is taking over our lives !
As a child and until I was 25 years old, I was opposed to television and was convinced that watching TV was a waste of valuable time. At that time we were not allowed to watch television until after. 20:00. This never became a problem because we in the family never had time for it anyway. I was always busy with sports or playing. So it was a fate when I moved to Tønder during my teacher education when I was 21, with a girl who insisted on watching television every night. It really became a problem in our relationship. In my family, we have always been very involved in culture, music and association life, so I couldn't accept this passive life in front of a screen.
I began to express my frustration in drawings like the ones I show here. At that time I had not yet started painting, but as the sketches show here, I already worked in 1989 with compositional considerations for a painting of such a theme: 3D TV takes over our lives. I wanted to dedicate my life to art, music, literature, psychology, philosophy and bohemian friendships. I wanted a lot more than a TV screen could ever offer me, so this relationship had to stop before we became very established.
Although this was in 1989 and the time has changed, I still have the same resistance to television. I only watch television when I'm with my ex-wife on weekends. She is also dependent on the TV as most people really are. It scares me. Maybe one day when I can't do anything else, I can end it - watch television.
Throughout my life I have been a person who likes to have time to concentrate and who hates being interrupted by something that is not necessary. It is therefore no wonder that I am in complete balance with myself and feel free when I just have the peace to draw, paint, read and listen to music.
Along with freedom, art, music and reflection, I have a natural cultivation of communication with family and friends, and as the drawing from 1985 shows, I was convinced that the computer would revolutionize our culture. That one day we would be able to use the computer for communication, what time has shown is very true. But I was afraid that we would be alienated with the computer, that we would lose body contact with each other and thus lose the sense of who we are with all our smells and sounds. This view can also be true. Sometimes I miss the old-fashioned physical contact of people today. I am afraid the scenario of being able to do everything online will result in people becoming disabled in their natural being and behavior. radically changes our existence.
I've always drawn a lot. At first it was cartoon that I loved to read and loved to copy, but I never thought of copying a cartoon character to anything. I've just made them to practice, so I've always discarded these exercises. The drawing first becomes interesting and genuine when it is one's own. the release in the drawing is all the subtle content of these drawings. Everything that doesn't really work verbally often works well in the drawing. It is therefore not wrong to assume that my art is based on the drawing, as well as on the ability and joy of being able to interpret my feelings in figures without them being cartoon, realism, abstract or anything else. The character of my figurative art is something between reality and the comic book, to express something through a trustworthy figure. The figurative expression comes from my imagination and from the world that surrounds me. I love being able to express a figure that speaks to me and the general audience about things I can hardly explain in any other way. That's why I mostly paint figurative paintings. I love the understanding process that follows as a similar narrative in the time after the end of an image. I begin to understand my own image as a recognition, because I actually live my own images in an almost magical way afterwards. The magic is that so much we humans perceive long before it happens. I experience this every day, as I have always expressed in pictures what is coming. In this way I understand my own reality in the context of my own images.
My private understanding would not make sense to anyone else and therefore will not be told. Therefore, I expect my audience to understand my works of art as they do because of their own experiences in life. My story can make sense, but the interpretation must remain open and free.
Cartoon Drawings - Architecture - Teacher Studies - Theology Studies - ARTIST
I was really fond of cartoon drawings, and like to copy them. So it was really my starting point for my great love for pictures, but it was just something I did for fun, so most of them I discarded. If I had only been guided to professionally draw cartoon drawings, I would certainly have chosen it, but it was not considered a serious career, so I focused instead on architecture. I tried to learn a little about architecture to please my father who was an architect. I found drawing interesting, but houses and construction boring. The teacher training was interesting, and the theology studies were also interesting, but my inner calling is art, so in the end I became an artist in my own life's cartoon. I have been a conscious artist every single day since 1989 and will always be, but inside I have always been a creative being. This was expressed, for example, by the fact that when we were to make a school comedy in the 6th grade, it was me who wrote the script and also played the main role. Drawing, writing, arranging, playing and playing sports has always been my lot in life. The gray shadow of boredom only enters when I am forced to do something against my will. The rest of the time, I feel an obligation to make maximum use. Time is the most precious thing I have.