Born in 1960, I grew up outside Stockholm, Sweden, with a Norwegian dad and a German mom and a younger brother. My father came from an entrepreneurial family and had a strong desire to run his own business and in 1973 he finally convinced my mom (who had experienced loosing everything in WWII) and started Skaltek AB, a company that is still thriving and making first rate equipment for packing and winding of all kinds of cables and tubes.
As I grew up I soon got the opportunity to work at Skaltek. Already at the age of 15 I drove to work on my moped and cleaned the offices, swept the workshop, and gradually started doing all kinds of jobs, such as assembly of machine modules, etc. When I was 17 my dad let me use his system camera and I soon found that I had an eye for photography and became interested in darkroom work. During my adolescence I also made pencil drawings of cars and other things (unfortunately all those drawings are lost). After finishing my military service (I was a fireman at a local airport, learning to save lives instead of killing) I started my career at Skaltek. I lived in Atlanta, Georgia, for two years, where we had started a company and that is where I met my wife Andrea. Three kids and 22 years at Skaltek, traveling the world, visiting noisy cable factories, meeting a lot of people, eating a lot of exotic foods, seeing very little else. Something was missing. I was struggling with a subconscious desire to do something more artistic. At Skaltek, I designed and produced all the company brochures, took all photos of machines, staff, etc., made all displays for our trade shows, but somewhere deep inside I was dreaming of a more artistic life. For many years I did not really have the courage to listen to those subtle feelings as so much was expected of me and basically I was very committed to a fantastic and unique company with outstanding products and a great team of colleagues.
Then, finally, in the spring of 2004 I decided it was time to listen to the tiny voice that was bugging me more and more. I asked my father and brother for a one year “time out”. I started taking photos for a coffee table book of our tiny village in the south of Sweden, which I published in 2005. I also started painting and took a one week course at an art school (Gerlesborg) on the Swedish west coast. That was what was needed and soon I was looking for a studio. After two years my father asked me if I was ready to come back to the company; I broke his heart by announcing that I was not coming back. I wanted to paint. In 2006 my wife Andrea and I found a very interesting house near Arild in Sweden, which had a great studio. The house, built in 1960, needed a lot of renovation and became an ongoing project for several years. Below is a photo from the studio in this house.
Soon I discovered that I could paint on plywood. I love letting the wooden grain be part of my work. From the time I started to paint, I have been fascinated by eyes and faces. I normally paint real people, but my paintings are not portraits – not as far as I am concerned. I am intrigued by the mystical depth in an eye – the pupil being like a black hole in outer space. It keeps receiving information that is stored inside a person as fragments and experiences. It makes each person unique and sovereign. Nobody knows what is hidden in another person. The realisation of this makes me understand that I can’t judge or evaluate any person. Not even my wife or my children, my parents or my brother. And no-one else.
My main focus is on painting with oils, mostly on plywood panels that I build. I also make laser cut steel sculptures that are suspended from the ceiling and lit with spotlight, creating a duplicate shadow on the wall. These have been very popular with my collectors. In the past few years I have also painted still life, landscapes, as well as minimalistic “line paintings”. I constantly strive to push myself beyond my comfort zone, but without losing the consistency, the core of my artistic creativity.
Since 2012 my wife and I are sharing our time between the south of Sweden and Santa Fe, New Mexico. After obtaining my green card we decided to build a studio/guest house in Santa Fe. Below are two recent photos from this studio.
Santa Fe, New Mexico, December 2019