|"After" Acrylic 2010|
Anne Angelshaug, an artist from Norway, creates beautiful surreal paintings that evoke a delicate sadness when viewed. Through the juzatopositon of humans and nature in dreamlike landscapes, Angelshaug's artwork is exploring many themes dealing with the destructive nature of humans. Angelshaug spoke with ArtSeen about her artwork and her artistic inspirations.
I have always drawn and painted and my parents always ensured I had creative materials to "play" with as a child. When I started my creative education it was not considered the "done thing" to work figuratively and be a fine artist in Norway. So I went into illustration instead. This allowed me to develop in a way that was more natural to me and it turned out that fine art was meant for me after all. I work very instinctively with little sketch work in advance. It starts with an idea and the image grows from that. Since I work fast and am an impatient painter, acrylics suits me better than oils.
What inspires you as an artist? Why do you create art?
Since I have always enjoyed "drawing stories" it is what I still do. I have fun creating, I like the challenges to my mind, and also the technical challenges it makes me face. But it is also a medium for me to communicate to others my thoughts and feelings around subjects that I find important. One of the subjects that "drives" me and I feel there should be a lot more focus on is the state of the planet and the destructive side of man. Again and again, we make bad choices with horrendous consequences for this beautiful planet and this saddens me more than I can say. There is a lot of this in my work.
|"After the Party" 2011|
What types of themes, ideas, or concepts do you explore within in your artwork?
As I already mentioned I am very environmentally concerned. Norway is one of the lucky countries where the destruction is not very visible yet. The nature is incredibly beautiful and mighty impressive. This inspires me immensely and plays a huge part in my work. Also I listen to audio-books all day long, I love all types of literature, and what I am listening to at the time has a tendency to creep into my painting that I am working on. Sometimes just a mood and sometimes actual items. I also love mythologies and like playing around with symbolism. The actual look of my work has a lot to do with my background as an illustrator. Since the subject matter that I want to explore and communicate is so dark and melancholic I like to juxtapose this with a beautiful fairytale-like look to the image. I want to "draw" the onlooker in and then let them discover that everything is not as it should be in this "beautiful" place. I love the uneasy pairing of innocence/cute and ominousness.
|"Paper Cuts" 2012|
Are there any artists that inspire you? If so, who would they be and why?
The last few years I am finding more and more artists that excite me. Before I discovered the pop surrealist art scene (it has been very late making it to Norway), I felt all alone and that I was maybe wasting my time on the type of work I was doing. And it was so wonderful to discover other artists that seemed to think like me! Before that I was very inspired by street art, and I still find that to be one of the most exciting art forms today. But I also find loads of inspiration from books. I devour everything that comes my way and find so much to work on from that. I especially love the Norwegian writer- Gert Nygårdshaug, his work is so poetic and beautiful while still dealing with subjects like environmental-protection, political conflicts, imperialism, and he has quite a critical outlook at European attitude and behavior. His work has a huge impact on me, if any of it is translated give it a go. But I have to say that the most inspiring artist I know is my husband. He´s got the most brilliant ideas and an eye for what works and what doesn´t. He is the only one that knows what I am trying to achieve and has the guts to be brutally honest about my work.
What do you think the role of the artist is?
Francis Bacon once said, “The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery." I love that. Even if I have subjects and themes that I use in my work to create stories, I have no answers. My work is not puzzles that must be solved correctly. I hope the viewer will create their own stories and emotions in response to my work and in that way be part of the creative process.
What other interests do you have outside of your artwork?
Well I have mentioned books a lot, but again BOOKS!!! I get through 3-5 books a week easily. I also find great joy in being in nature and working in the garden. So many human problems I think can be traced back to us becoming alienated from nature. There is such joy in simply sticking my hands into the soil and to create life and food from dirt and seed.
And finally, what advice would you give to other artists?
Do not get seduced by money if/when you start making it. Following the money and trying to create work that people will pay for stops your natural development as an artist and is not the right focus. Fairly obvious I know- but it can be hard to be strong and true to yourself when you see that some of your work sells and other work doesn´t. But seriously, don´t let money corrupt the way you work.
For more information about Angelshaug and her artwork, visit her website and Facebook page for more details.
All images provided by Anne Angelshaug.