Words: Helena Sokol & HuskMitNavn
We remember how funny we are ourselves. How comical existence is, and how lucky we are to share it with others – that you might have farted on your first date, but what does it matter, when you are moving in with each other next week? We’re not always these cool cats, sipping expensive lattes with other cool cats, or hurrying with perfectly messy hair to our next appointment. Caught in the right light, beautiful faults start to appear.
The human existence is also accepting sadness, loneliness and failure. At times, our skills or strength do not reach far enough. Though these moments are hopefully further apart, I think it is candidly expressed in his work. In our modern world, it’s pressure from all sides, whether from school, friends, family or work.
Particularly in those times, it’s nice to find HuskMitNavn’s art, I think. However, from the 27th of October, you will be able to find even more works than usual when the anonymous artist presents two solo shows at V1 Gallery in Kødbyen, WORK IT and FRAMEWORKS.
Rarely have I spoken to an artist that seemed so genuinely calm in his artistic endeavour. It seems to me that he just lets himself sink into a collective feeling of humanity and take it from there. If he gets bored with one material, he’ll pick up another. The transition between the different methods are minimal – he uses logic and intuition in perfect symphony to create playful, light works of art.
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Did you have a crew or a group that formed you in some way?
I’m in a couple of graffiti crews that I joined in the 90ies and still hang out with. They are my friends from then, but most of them don’t paint graffiti anymore.
You educated yourself as an art teacher but never used it. Besides getting the economic freedom and the time to work on your own projects, would you say you’ve gotten something out of it?
The education did not teach me much, which kind of taught me that I was on my own and I had to figure everything out myself.
Is there anything you want people to see in your work?
It’s fun when people can recognize themselves in my work. Everyday life reflects who we are. I try to keep my eyes open and use my surroundings as inspiration. Although I don’t have a place I keep returning to, a trip to the supermarket is always a good place to look at people. I draw people I pass on the street or just characters I make up as I am sketching.
Do you think that your art is very typical for Copenhagen and its people?
It’s probably easy to see that I live in a Scandinavian country by looking at my art. But a lot of the characters I draw do stuff that people do all over the planet. Checking their smartphones, eating junk food, worrying about the future…
In terms of style, it’s a mix of diverse ways of drawing. There is a bit of Disney, Keith Haring, Graffiti, Daniels Clowes and myself in the mixing bowl.
How did you find the transition from “pure” graffiti to “pure” art?
The difference between graffiti and traditional art is that graffiti is made for other graffiti writers and art is made all types of people. When I make art, I think about those people.
If the drawing has got a ton of details it takes a lot of time to draw it on a big wall. But anything is possible if you have got the time to make it and you don’t mind painting in the rain once in a while.
Some of the walls are commissioned, some I ask permission to paint and some I don’t really ask for permission to paint.
When and how did you start the 3D paper art?
I began to experiment with folded paper 3 or 4 years ago just because I was bored with the flatness of the paper. It’s fast and you don’t need a lot of fancy materials to make a 3D drawing. I like that.
The drawings or the photos of them are not for sale. You can’t frame the drawings and I don’t want to think about if I’m making them with proper materials.
I made a big 3D drawing book called ‘Papirarbejde’ that you can buy. For my moving paper works, I made some small ‘paper videos’ on Instagram – kitchen table style.
Has getting a family changed your motives and your way of working?
I have had kids most of my career. You are forced to be very organised when you have kids. The kids give you a life outside of the art world which is healthy. My life is my inspiration, so I have been drawing a lot of kids and parents the past 10 years.
Tell me a bit about your new exhibitions.
The exhibitions are about work. I have painted people at work in different situations. I find work-life interesting because it eats the rest of your life. You check your work e-mail before going to bed, you run a marathon to put it on your CV, your work becomes your identity.
In the basement project space, I have another show called ‘Framework’ which is kind of the 3D drawings just on canvas.
Some artists love the limelight, being at exhibitions and talking to people, but you mainly communicate on social media – why is that?
It’s nice to have a big audience without having to stand on a stage right in front of them. I can just lie on my sofa instead. I’m anonymous because it’s a nice way to work. I don’t have to use my face to make a living as an artist and I like to lead an ordinary life.
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