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Georg Óskar: "Painting is full of surprises and puzzles"

- What do you find most challenging about being an artist?

I am trying to solve something every day. That is challenging and motivating as well.

- What/who inspires you the most?

Life in general generates a lot of inspiring stuff. If I stay awake throughout the day, I notice many small things. Some are interesting enough that they stay with me longer than others.

I collect things throughout the day; all kinds of stories from our planet. Usually I find something in people that interests me, and in the world in general. Life is a wide spectrum of feelings and activities. What one person thinks is cool may not be cool to someone else…this all appeals to me. Our time now is like one big candy shop… you want to taste almost all of the sweets, but sadly some are not tasty at all.

Then painting itself is full of surprises and puzzles, both of which inspire and lead you to interesting places.

- Describe your process. How does painting differ from works on paper?

I do preliminary sketches now more than before. This helps in planning my next work in some ways…nothing too much. I like to have a vague idea of what I will be dealing with in the next piece. Sometimes I paint directly with no clear idea, but the brush strokes and the process of painting will often come up with something for me. Work on paper for me is often more spontaneous than painting; it can be more raw with no effort being put in to make the drawing raw. Painting is more about decisions. Even if you make a painting that is raw, it’s usually because you decided you wanted it to be that way.

- When did you decide on becoming a professional artist?

I think it was around the time I started painting, some 14 years ago.

- Was there a specific incident that influenced you to become an artist?

I really like the Icelandic painter Kjarval. When I started having interest in making work myself, I looked at his work and felt inspired. Even though he does very different work from mine, it was just how he painted that struck me. I felt the presence of the artist, and gravitated towards the materialism, mess and colors. And it made me want to try painting myself. When I did it felt good and I have been painting ever since. Being an artist is highly addictive.

- How do you prepare for an exhibition?

I start by thinking of the space; I like to install the show in my mind. I think of the work inside the space, and how many paintings and drawings would be suitable for the space. All the small things I get obsessed with throughout the days will become the theme. I try to wake up early and work on my paintings or do some drawing for a few hours everyday. If I am creating new work for the show I feel more comfortable starting it a few months or year before, if possible.

- What does your daily routine look like?

I wake up and have something to eat, usually at home (we have a lovely kitchen here). Then I like to go out for a walk and get some fresh air; it’s a nice time to think of your next steps or to not think of anything at all. I try to work on something each day in the studio, sometimes more sometimes less as it goes.

I just recently moved to Berlin from Akureyri which is my hometown in Iceland. I had a similar routine there: meeting friends and family, working in my studio and so on. But it feels sweet being in the city now. I have traveled in the past but never lived in what I feel is a big city before. There is a lot to see, taste and witness. There are plenty of ideas to bring to your studio work.

- How has your process been affected by technology/changed over the years?

Not much, I still paint. I like the caveman feeling of being a painter. I have seen painters using robots and some programs to make drawings and stuff, but I personally never felt pulled in that direction.

Maybe the future holds some technology I can't resist, let’s see.

The internet is a very interesting place. You can easily get in contact with so many artist all around the world, so that's nice, especially when you have been living most of your life in a small town of eighteen thousand (18.000) people. It is good for you in some ways. Social media is alright…it’s good to get a taste of what other artists are doing. You are isolated in the studio enough I guess. I thank technology for those connections. We do not all have to move to Paris anymore to see what is going on.

- How long does it normally take you to complete a painting?

There’s no easy answer to that question. I have to say it could take months, weeks, days, sometimes hours. Time varies from painting to painting.

- Describe some of the meaning behind your work that is being shown in your upcoming exhibitions in 2018.

My work could be described as a visual diary. I will continue to pick something out I find interesting from nature and people, for example, something super normal and seemingly insignificant. Then the work will still be open enough for people to sense something else that I didn’t.

I feel focused and relaxed at the moment which will have a positive effect on the work I hope. Calm and dreamy is the theme of 2018.

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