«I try to find a balance between the humorous and the serious and I also want to find a balance between the beautiful and the ugly.»

Daniel Jensen
Stockholm, Sweden.

Tell us a little about yourself, how did your journey to the art world begin?

I was born in Malmö in the south of Sweden and I grew up in a small village in the countryside. I graduated from the National Academy of Fine Art in Oslo in 2001 and I am currently based in Stockholm. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after school, I never had a dream of becoming an artist but I had always been interested in drawing so after a few odd jobs I decided to apply to an art school. When I later applied to the academy in Oslo, I was admitted to the painting department but I almost immediately started working with sculptures and installations. After graduating from the academy I worked exclusively with large-scale, site-specific installations and did so for a couple of years before going back to working with paintings and sculptures.

We would like to learn more about your work. At first sight, that most of them are improvisation, is it really so?

My works are quite improvised. I make a lot of drawings but I very rarely use them as studies for paintings, sometimes a small section or maybe a fragment of a drawing can be a starting point for a painting. My paintings are deeply rooted in drawing so I prefer to work quickly and intuitively to keep that energy and immediacy of a sketch and I usually work on several paintings at a time so one painting gives birth to another.

I have always worked quite intuitively and experimental, also when I used to work a lot more figurative. It’s actually only for the last couple of years that I have started to gradually reducing the figurative elements in my works and making them more non-representational and fragmented. What was previously in the background has now been highlighted and most of the figuration has disappeared further into the background and almost vanished.

I also experiment a lot with different materials and techniques, which has become a major part of my practice and is what keeps my work moving forward. If I get comfortable I get bored and then I have to make something different, not only change and develop the motives but also change materials and techniques. Because of this, I believe I have a fairly free approach to materials and I believe it can be rewarding to not always master the materials you choose to work with. The moment you lose control over a painting or a sculpture can actually be very exciting.

How important is your mood while working on the painting?

I don’t know if the mood is that important but I guess that it may influence the works in some way, maybe a painting takes a new and unexpected direction and that’s a good thing. I want to get a little surprised and unsure of what the work is about.

I have always used humour in relation to more serious elements as some kind of generating the idea in my work. That’s maybe not so visibly evident in my recent paintings but there still is a playful nature in my works that I believe reflects my temper. I try to find a balance between the humorous and the serious and I also want to find a balance between the beautiful and the ugly. There must be something a bit off, that’s when the works become interesting.

Tell us about your studio? What does your usual working day look like?

My current studio is quite small, which of course can be frustrating at times, I have to move things around a lot. I probably do need to find a bigger space soon, but that’s not easy in Stockholm. The upside with my studio is that it is located in the same building as where I live and the rent is quite low.

I usually start an ordinary workday by making works on paper, this is a great way to get the day started before I begin working on paintings. Then it’s pretty much about getting as much work done as possible before it’s time to pick up my son from daycare, my work days have become much more structured nowadays. I have to be really efficient, there is no time to just sit around in the studio anymore.

What inspires you most of all to create new paintings?

All kinds of absurdities in everyday life. Language and miscommunication – I’m interested in how you piece together the different components of a fragmented story to make sense of it.

What are your plans for this year? How many exhibitions have you planned already?

I’m currently showing some paintings in a group show at Rizzuto Gallery in Palermo and also at Björkholmen Gallery in Stockholm. I have a solo show next year and I have a few group shows and other exciting things coming up, yet to be announced.

Your thoughts that you want to share with our readers

Thanks to Abstract Mag for the opportunity to share my work.

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