We followed up with Zigge Holmgren for part II of our artist interview. This time around, Zigge focuses on his audience’s relationships with his art and the notion of originality.
Is there anything you would like to convey through your style of art?
Don’t get me wrong, but there’s no message, not intentionally. Quite often in my gallery, people ask, “is this a genuine oil?” This amuses me most of the time. I varnish all my work and try to make them look old and weathered out. I’m usually pleased with the banter about “genuine oil,” but if I have a bad day, I can peevishly burst out, “no, it’s not a genuine print!”
I like to joke a bit around about the phrase “genuine oil” and the habitual vision and behavior around art. I often say to people who hesitate a little at my answers (claiming they don’t know anything about art) that they certainly know all about art. They are the experts, just as they are wine connoisseurs. If it tastes bad, it’s bad wine. It’s as simple as that.
Can I actually draw a horse?? No, I can’t draw horses, they look like beavers (I’m a big laugh during Pictionary)! So, photographs and Photoshop are a blessing. Some believe Photoshop does the job for you, but it has its tools — just like the traditional ones. Still, there are no horses on my pictures… not even beavers, nor lambs.
Is there a particular audience that this art-style is aimed to speak to?
No, not really. Having a specific audience in mind would make things disingenuous. I normally don’t title pieces in order not to “disclose” or “explain” the content. If I occasionally do give it a title, it’s totally nonsense. That way the piece will last longer and the buyer will have a personal relationship with it. The pieces normally depict fragments of nature’s perfection, reduced into organic patterns. I guess we can say my style is romantic and decorative.
Working with layers in Photoshop, I’m very fond of “chance” where much is left to mere accident, though under some sort of control. Some call it “serendipity.” It’s an attempt to resemble the beauty of aged things, like old tables with scratch marks and stains. They get this patina without a plan. Just as everyday beauty is often walked by.
I like the idea of the “non-image,” to find the code between the small print of nature. I like to see my pictures as xerox copies of life, as we would experience existence in an “afterlife”. Like images from children’s picture books for grown-ups. But, it’s not my intent to get literal, or tangled up in words.
Your styles of art is quite original. What advice would you give to artists who are afraid to step out of the box?
Just keep on, and on again… what is that, passion maybe? Don’t be afraid to fail. Some honesty, I guess. Don’t please anyone. Don’t do what’s expected of you. Don’t be skilled, don’t draw horses… Always go a little bit further than what you’re comfortable with. I guess that’s what we’re talking about.
Though being this creative and inventive can be somewhat fearful at times. Maybe to use rollers on an extension stick and use big canvases or surfaces! Big broad strokes. OK, make big horses with a roller. See what happens. Play around a little bit. Be a little childish. I don’t think being original or individualistic is something to strive for. No-one has ever been “new,” created or invented anything alone. We all do it together, like a big brain, or soul for that matter. We are all participating and doing everything as one big creative force, it just rolls on. I like that idea. When we are gone, it’ll continue this way.
If you don’t know what to do, start by imitating others. There are no greater artists than anybody else. We are all great. But above all, just play on. How does that sound?
How did you begin to trust in your own originality and nurture it further?
As long as you don’t get stuck and paralyzed by your ambition, I think you’ve come far. If far is the way to go. That’s the moment you realize that you weren’t meant for drawing horses.
I’m not religious in the normal sense but there is something very strange in keeping with this kind of trade. Working with pictures is some kind of investigation, it’s like having the word you’re searching for on your lips, but it won’t come out. It’ll stay that way. Keeps me going. But I think I would lie if I said I wasn’t a sucker for likes…. ; )
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