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Game of Shadows
Audun Grimstad is a Norwegian artist with a long list of exhibitions in Europe and the United States. He is a painter and illustrator with an inclination towards dark and atmospheric imagery and a passion for colours. Grimstad has a roundabout body of work, infused with saturated colours and an endless game of shadows and contrasts.
I used to say that I wanted to make images that conjure the same atmosphere as films by David Lynch. It perfectly describes the mood I’m looking for, where there is a balance of something eerie or unsettling and beauty.
Impatient and eager to work as soon as a new idea comes to mind, the artist wishes to stop rushing and take time to get deep into the concept. But his works get their freshness from the artist’s effervescence and enthusiasm. A simple concept such as a colour combination or a paragraph from a book can inspire a great artwork. And that first powerful impression brings honesty and sensitivity to his works. You can easily get lost in one of his shades of green or pink and find a thousand meanings behind his shapes.
Because of my impatience to just get going, I often find myself in the periphery of what could be a very good idea or concept. But since I’m always rushing it, my work tends to fall a bit short, in my opinion. This is what I think separates truly great art from what I’m doing. I don’t see this as a negative thing, luckily. On the contrary, it’s a great source of motivation. Put in the work, and the results will come.
His current series HEARTLAND explores issues of identity and plays with costumes as one does with masks. Behind each costume is a person, trapped by the folds of the material and lost behind a wall thoroughly constructed. The costumes are beautifully ornamented and exhibit cultural and historical influences. HEARTLAND includes the artist’s favourite piece thus far, Cathedral (2017), which hides four different paintings and surmounts all their individual magic.
This is one of my favourite parts about painting, in the way you build up an image, layer by layer, often taking a wrong turn here or there, while slowly working your way to the finished state of the painting. Cathedral is a perfect example of that.
The artistic process is never easy but the pandemic has managed to make it even more difficult. Yet, the difficult parts fo the process are crucial to the final artwork. “The process of painting can also be gruelling, and it often feels like a straight-out battle, where one day nothing works and it feels like the most difficult thing, until suddenly everything comes together, and it is simply the best feeling imaginable. That rush of joy and excitement I get from finishing an image is addictive, and I find myself chasing it every time I paint.”
Article written by Monica Radulescu