RADIO : Gast van de week
|Beeldend kunstenaar Birgitta Sundstrom Jansdotter is te gast op zondag 3 maart 2013. Zij is Zweedse, maar woont en werkt sinds 2001 in Nederland met onder meer een atelier in Gouda. In het interview, dat duurt van 18.00 tot 19.00 uur, vertelt Birgitta over haar fascinatie voor kunst en verder met name over haar eigen werk, waarin de vrouw (gezichtsuitdrukking, kleding) een belangrijke plaats inneemt. Haar bijzondere stijl was in januari 2012 al te zien in tv-programma ‘Sterren op het doek’, waarin zij Linda de Mol schilderde. Meer informatie over Birgitta Sundstrom Jansdotter is te vinden op haar website www.zweedsekunst.nl.|
Birgitta Sundström Jansdotter: RTV Gouwestad interview feb/maart 2013
In dialogue with Birgitta Sundström Jansdotter
Hello Miss Sundström, who are you?
I am an artist/ painter, born in Sweden.
But I moved to The Netherlands 11 years ago.
What do you do?
I am a painter, who works mostly with expressions, impressions.
Women and their surroundings, the way they live..
I usually get inspired by my own life or stories around me.
I make (kind of) a collage of these impressions, in my head
and I get a vision about what I want to paint.
This often leads to familiar images mixed with
elements of estrangement.
Sometimes I make an arm longer just because I think it looks
or I remove an arm or hand.
I usually make quite big paintings,
Not super big but they are not small
It gives more of a direct impression…and actually…I don’t
like to paint the heads too small.
I love to put the soul in their eyes and that is not so easy if
the paintings are really small.
The most important in my paintings are the eyes.
I see, it’s also more confronting for the
viewer because they can relate to it easier?
Yes that’s true
What aspect of women are you most drawn to?
In my latest paintings I have been working a lot around
Good or bad love.
How it feels when it goes wrong…
So what did you find out about love?
That it is not so easy…. the older you get the harder it is….
to find real love
Why is that?
If I had that answer I would not be single right now… haha
Okay, I get it
I noticed none of your works (or at least, I
couldn’t find one) have a title, why?
Because I want to have an open dialogue with the viewer.
I don’ t want to tell them what they should feel.
I make half the painting and the rest comes from the viewer’s
I want to touch their souls if it’s possible.
That’s why I don’t want to come up with ready-made solutions…
My paintings have different meanings for everyone….
And I find that more appealing
Why? Is it too personal?
No. That’s not the reason…I want to touch the soul
If they ask, I will tell my history
But people probably ask you about the meaning of
your work all the time, no?
No actually they don’t.
Oh really? That’s weird
They just stay in front of my paintings, usually for a long time,
It is seldom that they ask me something, actually.
Maybe they’re afraid to ask, you’re paintings
look kind of dark
Hahaha…I look friendly, so I don’t think they are afraid of
And if I’m there during an opening I usually introduce myself.
They can ask me anything, but they usually talk about
themselves… about how they feel
Means you look like a kind lady
Yes that’s what I meant. I don’t look scary at all!!
Well I see a lot of women there, beautiful
never look ugly or fat… very stylish women also
Yes…I also like fashion and have a degree in that…
I think that that is the reason for fashion in my paintings
I also love photography…black and white…
And a lot of my paintings are black & white
Where does this dark undertone come from?
I like to set a special atmosphere…surrounding my women.
Sometimes black, sometimes a bright color.
Usually Black when I want to express feelings of sadness.
Colors are gone.
Then there’s a lot of sadness in your paintings..
Maybe half of them.
There not always meant to be sad, despite the dark color…but
Sadness is also an easy impression to paint…
And actually I paint better when I feel sad. Or make better
Maybe because then I’m more in touch with the soul and feelings
And I also express feelings easier then
Yep, they look kind of emotional (your ladies),
maybe because they have strange babies, and strange pets;-)?
They came from the long-term relation I had at that time.
I was a little bit tired to always fix everything….
It came out in that kind of painting
Are you a sensitive person?
Sometimes I am sensitive but I sometimes not so much
… I am a mix!
I don’t think so
Usually women are standing in front of my paintings laughing about
they recognize, I find that very amusing.
I love humor!!!
What do you think about women nowadays?
I think that women nowadays are more independent than some
We marry for love and not for stability…
If it doesn’t work out, we can always leave.
That was harder before…. and a lot of people used to stick
together because of their children.
Most of the women have a job now!
Maybe I am different …because I am from Sweden
True, but love fades slowly and then it dies…
Not if you work on it and
handle with great care!
Most people don’t nowadays…
That’s a pity
But if you make that mistake one time…
You usually learn to do it differently next time…
You said earlier ‘Maybe I am different …because
I am from Sweden’,
what do you mean?
In Sweden we learn from child that we are the same as the man.
We work 40 hours a week and the housekeeping is also equally
I also have an education as electronic engineer…. part of it
…because I chose to work with art…
So I went another direction
Most guys are afraid of strong women
and that is what I am painting
Now I get a better view:-)
How did you end up in the Netherlands?
I was supposed to go to the Provence to paint with a friend but
she got sick.
So I decided to go on, interailing on my own.
First to Amsterdam, for a day and then to Paris, and in Rennes I
met the father of my child.
He is a Dutchman…
After a year I moved to The Netherlands after a tryout for 3
Oooh looove, toujours l’amour!!
This is a big interview!!!!!
Is it? How so?
I thought it would be a few sentences…. I checked your website
You have to click on ‘read more’ hahahaha
I was in a hurry!
I can see it now
Thank you for your time Miss!
Thank you Barry!
Birgitta Sundström Jansdotter online: www.zweedsekunst.nl
Link to interview: http://banananasdialogues.com/dialogue-birgitta-sundstrom-jansdotter/
EK Interview: Birgitta Sundström
Birgitta Sundström was recently mentioned in our feature on CabinOdd. Now you get to hear her speak for herself! She uses simple colors that seem to hold my attention in a way that’s hard to break away. Check out her interview:
What’s the largest piece you’ve ever worked on? How long did it take?
My largest painting is 270 x 170 cm. It had to be big because it’s about love’s complexities! It shows a girl reclining in a milk bath surrounded by black ducks; in the bath and on the floor around it. The ducks’ heads are human male heads. I made it for a solo exhibition in Edsvik konsthall in Stockholm last year that featured over 40 of my works. This particular painting took me 5 weeks, working around the clock. The whole solo exhibition was very daunting because I had 130 meters of wall space to fill, but I was happy with how the work turned out, and the show was really well-received.
How do you start a new piece? What is your process?
My pieces begin with impressions from the internet, TV or what’s happening around me or in my own life. The works take shape as a collage of all kinds of different impressions. After that, almost ‘automagically’, I get a kind of vision about what I want to paint. My work usually revolves around human relations and interactions and often combine personal stories, mirrors of the society, and dreamlike worlds that give a certain sense of estrangement and mystery.
When did you decide that acrylic on canvas was your preferred medium? Have you experimented with other media?
I have experimented with different mediums in the past: textile, sculptures (clay) and photography. Eleven years ago, before I moved to The Netherlands from Sweden, I was making clay sculptures and painting in acrylic. When I first moved to the the Netherlands, I worked less because my ex-partner and I started a family, but within 4 years I had a studio again and was again painting regularly. Since I found my studio in Gouda I have been focused on mainly painting, but I will probably go back to experimenting with clay again some day. As for my acrylic paints, they are old friends. Acrylic allows me a lot of latitude in representing figure-ground relationships. I don’t have to worry about chemical reactions in the paint, I can focus solely on painting.
Besides the scope, what is the difference between large and small pieces? Is there a difference in your approach?
I wouldn’t say there is a big difference in approach because my inspiration and beginning of the creative process remain the same. Some subject matter just demands more space and therefore more of everyone’s attention. Smaller works aren’t less important to me, they’re just a different technical challenge. I like making small work. They’re more intimate statements, somehow. And I like that they’re more affordable to a bigger group of art lovers and collectors, who may not have big walls or big wallets. I have plans to make more smaller work.
How has your work evolved from your first show in Luleå to the recent show with Cabinodd?
I have always painted portraits. The work I showed in Luleå was made with a different approach: the paintings evolved as I was making them. I was finding the story of the painting through colour. My process changed radically when I came to the Netherlands. These days I arrive at the canvas with a definite idea of what kind of character I want to portray, and how.
The two paintings currently on view during The Artery Show are inspired by my own life and my friends’ lives. One painting shows twins on a mission to have fun, and the other shows a woman who is taking it easy with love. She’s not soft, though. If someone pushes her, she’ll push right back. Maybe a little bit harder, too. There’s also an hourglass marking the passage not of time, but of love. My involvement with Cabinodd has been a positive impulse for me as an artist. Ella Buzo (Cabinodd’s director) has been really supportive of my work; finding venues for it at art fairs, galleries and within various curatorial projects, like The Artery Show.
What’s it like having your own studio? What is Gouda like?
I’m lucky to have a big studio in Gouda and a smaller one at home. This may sound like a luxury, but I really need to be able to work at home in the evenings and sometimes through the night. It also makes childcare and child-related logistics much, much easier.
Gouda still has a lot of old world charm, but it’s deceptive. Gouda is actually a very vibrant city with a lot going on. Because of it’s size and location it’s a great base for an artist.
How do you decide to allow someone to show in your studio?
I really only show my own work in my studio gallery. The gallery is attached to my studio; it’s around 25 m². It’s a better place to show work than my studio is, and in that way, the gallery is like my studio at home: it gives me more freedom to work when and how I want.
From time to time I hold special viewing evenings in the gallery– they’re just like opening receptions. The viewings are so that people who follow my work can see what I’m up to. And I also show my paintings in the annual Open Studio routes.
When did you open your studio? What kind of art do you show there?
I have had this studio for 6,5 years now. I show my own paintings and some of my sculptures.
What do you use, whether music, substances or otherwise, to get into the proper mood for a piece? How do you emotionally prepare yourself, how do you sustain the mindset throughout a piece?
If you count much coffee as a substance, then yes I am a substance-user! I also like to listen to music or sometimes I have the TV on in the background. Bands like Triggerfinger, The Editors, Selah Sue and VNV Nation get my creative juices going. However, I get a lot of energy just from the act of beginning a painting. After that, the momentum of the figures and stories coming to life keeps things going.
Are you right or left handed?
I am right-handed.
What is your favorite colour? What is your favorite brand of paint and what makes it the best?
Black is my favourite ‘colour’, but I also like blue and cerise. I usually use Amsterdam Acrylic because of the good quality and price.
What is better, apple or orange juice?
No contest: I go for orange juice every time!!