Inspirations, infulations and trees.

GeirFood for inspiration

Today I had to take a bike ride downtown to get some pencil lead. I discovered yesterday that I lacked two fundamentally important grades, B and 2B. So I headed down to Christ Engebretsen & Son to see if they had this. They was of course sold out for the B, so I had to head over to KEM (another artist supply here in Oslo). Luckily they had the missing grade. So I got a box of those and a couple of Steadtler mine holders. These are
the ones I like best. Well, at least the ones I am most used to. Which for most of the time is the most important thing for me and my workflow. Anywho… I decided to head home through another part of town from were I came, and ended up in Trondheimsveien.
After a quick browse inside a small cosy old time tobacco store, something suddenly hit me. “Hadn’t I seen a used comic book store in this street?” I did a quick map search on my phone for Lucky Eddie comic book store. And yup, I had remembered correctly. Just up the street from were I where standing, it laid. So I got on my bike again and headed up to it. Once inside the doorway my jaw dropped. OMG what a heavenly store for a comic geek like me! Comics of all sorts. Donald Duck in abundance, Superman, Superboy, Spider-man….. the list goes on. I browsed a good while smiling for myself as I discovered comic upon comic from my childhood.
Comics that had been a huge influence on my taste and later my own art. I have always loved superhero comics. And the times in which we are today, is like an utopia when it comes to superheros on the silver screen, with modern days CGI effects. Seeing The Amazing Hulk, even the smallest muscles in his arm throb as he lifts something unlifiable. Superman, the only character in any kind of literature which can be called a true god, truly have the opportunity to show of his strength with today’s movie CGI. Still a huge source of inspiration for me. But back to Lucky Eddies comic book store. In a shelf I found a book on Roger Deans art, “Roger Dean – Views”. You know, the dude that illustrated the covers for YES. Now, I have never really fallen for his style. It has been to crude for my taste. And much too bright colour wise. But the book had some sketches in it as well, so I felt strangely drawn towards it having gotten back into drawing myself of late. I also picked up a couple of comics by Alexandro Jodorovsky, The Technopriests. A story from the John DiFool universe by Jodorovsky and Moebius. The latter, one of my biggest inspirational sources when it comes to artists. More on these two later.
Now, after having gotten home, I have had a browse in the Roger Dean book while eating a fish wrap lunch with a delicious pangasius fillet. My first impression is that I should have checked out Dean before. His stuff is great. Playful, organic shapes, filled with dramatic colours and shadows, in a landscape of psychedelic flowing paint. Probably done by letting paint and some sort of thinner, depending on the type of paint, flow freely over the paper or canvas. Although, I really have no idea how he worked. So this is all just guessing for now. I will have to check this more thoroughly later. I think this organic playfulness is what drew me towards buying this book today. I recognized myself and my organisisms in his work. The colours, well…. they still feels very bright, but I feel they speak more to me today then yesteryears. Their childish play with the shapes they are set to colourize, together with the dark, harsh, black shadows. It all gives his images some sort of realistic, dramatic photographic look. Like they where taken with a strange camera made from an alien technology on a distant alien world with another kind of atmosphere which distort light as we know it. At the same time they have this wonderful, childish fairytale look to them. I sometimes expect to read “once upon a time…..” in the connecting text. And of course, the sketches. I love sketches, and have always loved them. Never sketched much myself though. I get the hibijeebies (howeverthatiswritten) by seeing my own unfinished, crude and stuttering lines and drawings which I feel my sketches is. Word to the wise though; its never a good idea not to sketch. If you have the aforementioned problem, get over it!! Its nothing you learn as much from then sketching. So don’t be me. Sketch!
Fantastic art, art that draws on pure imagination have always been my favourite. Although when browsing through my art on this website, you will find much art that is of a more serious, classical and social commentary sort. I am not sure why I ended up on that road, but I did. Didn’t work for me though. By all means, I have made some really good pieces, even masterpieces if I might be so bold, working in those manners, but something has always been a miss for me. I know today that this was fantasy and the playfulness of imagination. I have always had a very imaginative mind, and always made small fantastic stories in my head for my self. But I never felt that I would be taken serious in the Norwegian art scene making art like that.
So after many years trying to become a serious fine arts artist, I simply quit. Well, its a more complex reason for my quitting then that, but that’s of no interest for now. The thing is that I quit art, but found music. More specifically, synthesizer music. Making music on software synths, made it possible for me not only to be able to “walk inside” my own artwork, music that is, but the worlds I created with music was ever changing as well. A fourth dimension had been discovered, time, and the metamorphosis there in. So drawing on my musical inspirational sources like Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream and many others, I have now played with sound for a few years. Or as I call it; painted with sound. Because pictorial art is still something that is very close to me. And I use the same principles I used as a painter when composing music. I find my inspiration from the same sources still, like sci-fi movies and books, comics about Superman, The Incal and other Moebius comics.

Moebius (picture above and below this text) is an artist which, if you do not know of, I urge you to get some of his graphic novels if you are into sci-fi. They will blow you mind. His drawing style have been a huge influence on me since I first laid eyes on the John DiFool series. The universe in that man’s head is beyond anything I have seen. He has a humor in his panels even when the scenes he illustrate can be hard and gory. And he can switch so elegantly between a comical line to a much more classical and serious in the same novel without it looking odd and misplaced. A great source of inspiration. Some of his best work is done in collaboration with Alexandro Jodorovsky. A man whose fantastic stories can be like a living Salvador Dali painting.

Other things I find inspirational is magazines, and design and fashion in particular. Don’t know why, except for the cleanliness of the layout. I find it oddly titillating. And then we have the architectural drawings. Now there is something I can really enjoy. Many years ago I found a huge book about Frank Lloyd Wrights architectural drawings. It’s just loaded with drawings of houses, parks, gardens and interior. And every drawing, though industrial as they are meant to be, is like a Rembrandt, a Carravaggio or a DaVinci. I always look at his overall shapes of a house for instance, trying to figure out his thought behind it. How is this meant to function? Where are the rooms? Are the entrances practically laid out? What does this shape resemble? Is that a snail-house he has fetched that shape from?….. All these kinds of question triggers my own inspiration and ideas.
Now it have to be said that I find these so inspirational much because the drawings are so small in this format. So the detail gets so tiny. This makes the drawings look even more amazing, and they trigger even more ideas since its sometimes impossible to see what they actually are, so my mind tends to make up its own idea about what they are. The same with the shapes in the drawings. They can trigger all kinds of ideas.
Another thing I find inspirational in this book, is the same thing I find inspirational with sketches as well. The drawing technique. I enjoy certain kinds of techniques. Not that I think I will manage to put into words how this technique is, but I will try to give a little picture of it.
The line have to be loose, yet firm. I have to see some certainness from the artist in his lines. I like a good and gritty style with a pencil that has ran freely across the paper. But at the same time there have to be some kind of order. Even if this is through chaos. Ordered chaos. Yes, that might be a good term for it.
Inspiration is never a problem. Its rather to sort it all out and collect the ones I want to use, archive the once I might use later and throw out the ones I don’t need.a multitude of sources
And when it comes to ordered chaos, I think one of my main inspirations and influences might be one of the highest masters. Salvador Dali. His chaotic order has always been comforting to me. Yes, actually comforting. And not only that, but soothing as well. You see, my head has for as long as I can remember been a very chaotic place to stay. So every now and again I have had to push that chaos back with external chaos. Its like the two chaos states cancels each other out, or maybe the external chaos simply makes the reality feel more like home? I really don’t know. Only thing I know is I can find it comforting and soothing. Even white noise on the radio can feel soothing. So Salvador Dali’s chaotic surrealistic universe was something I felt at home in from the moment I saw his works in a book many years ago. It might not be where I draw most of my inspiration from today, but sometimes I like to pick up the brick of a book I have about him and just look at the pictures.
What about nature? Don’t you find the majestic nature of Norway inspirational at all? I can almost here some of you ask me this. By all means. I find it very inspirational. But not so much for my art as I find it an inspiration to live. To feel that I truly am a part of something greater then myself. A part of the awesome force we call nature. Absolutely. One of my main hobbies is rock hunting. I love walking around in quarries looking at rocks, think about how they came to be, the amazing and time consuming process it is to create a certain type of rock. The time it takes for a calcite or a quartz crystal to form. And not to forget trees. I am a real tree hugger. A good old fashion one whom actually can be seen hugging and caressing a tree trunk. I love the texture of the bark, the hardness of the wood, and the fact that trees at the same time is so amazingly sensual in the way they sway lightly in the breeze. And they can be old as history itself. Full of stories to tell for whomever wishes to listen.
There is lots more I could write about from where I find inspiration. H.R. Giger for nasty, gritty art, Bob Venosa for etheral, heavenly crystal worlds, the smile of Kylie Minogue which I can hear in nearly every sung word in her music, the darkness and cyberpunk that is Skinny Puppy….. in short, this article could go on for terabytes, or could become a series for the ages. But more might come later. Right now I hear my stomach growl a tad, which again inspires me to make some dinner.
It is by far the most fruitful of all the sources. Within the contrasts of the world lays everything you will ever need to get inspired to make great art.A few closing words

Fig. 1, from Lucky Eddie,
Fig. 2, “Roger Dean – views” and The Technopriests books
Fig. 3, from the Roger Dean book
Fig. 4 and 5, from The Incal – “The Fifth Essence I – The Dreaming Galaxy”
Fig. 6, from “Frank Lloyd Wright – Monograph 1951-1959”
Fig. 7 from “Dali – Paintings” Tachen
Fig . 8, my own photo
Fig. 9, from “H.R. Giger – Necronomicon” Edittion C