As I have never taken an art class, nor studied art history - I figured I could write my own
ART HISTORY. So, I created a beautiful coffee table book with the stories behind some of the paintings I did between 1987 - 2012, That book is available here http://blur.by/17kMfOy
Otherwise the stories are below:
SWEDEN 1987 - 2001
This is the first painting I sold. My father bought it. One could of course think that I should give it to him. But, I had made my pizzeria Viking in Limhamn/Sweden into a gallery for one day and there were quite some visitors. So it was sold. The original was painted with designer markers. I made a print of it later and framed it so my father could display it. As the original was made with markers it had to be kept in a dark space where no sunlight could make the ink vanish.
I remember that special light still today. San Pedro California 1965, I was a deck boy in the Swedish merchant navy. This is one of my very first paintings. It was signed B Padrick. That light still gives me goose bumps.
SUPREMES ( original destroyed in fire in Wisconsin 2012 )
Before Michael Jackson, Madonna & Spice Girls; There was The Supremes! Do you remember the Motown sound out of Detroit with the Supremes, Marwin Gaye and many more?! This is one of my first paintings…
This is what relations are all about. Sometimes it is great other times it is not so great... or as they say in England. “In for a penny - in for a pound”. When you are in, you have to make it work - though I don’t agree. You should of course make a serious effort to fix your problems. But, if that doesn’t work – I believe everyone is better off separated. “Together” is one of only two computer generated images I have produced in 25 years. The other one; SUN CITY was produced after I had made this one. I used a simple software called Paint. And you know it was simple as it was in 1988 I made them.
A play with tools; Maybe an unconscious experience from the past. A piece from 1988.
You become, you grow up, you live, you get old and ....you are gone.
This also one of my very first paintings. It symbolizes all Olympic games...
During my first two years I signed my paintings with B Padrick. B for Bjorn and Padrick after my son (Patrick) with Irish Isobel. The paintings above were all signed B Padrick
I once worked at a Wild West Theme Park in Sweden - however not as a stuntman. My job was to capture moments as a photographer. I had fling with this Show Girl... When I painted this, she was not in my conscious mind; still she just surfaced on the paper.
When you like me have lived more or less the major part of your life by the sea – this is a given painting. The sea is a part of my life. I have traveled some Oceans in the merchant navy, I have sailed, I have walked the polluted water with shoes on my feet at the shores of the Irish Sea, I have snorkeled, and I have played. I have crossed waters by ferry and I have skated in the winter. When I moved to rural Wisconsin to the area around Elroy – the rolling fields became my sea and the hills my waves.
So, which came first...?. This painting is one of my first pieces. It was painted with gouache 1989. When I showed this at Ward Nasse Gallery in New York later the same year they called my art "The Power of Simplicity".
I used this painting to pay my rent one year later…
During my long and great relation with my Norwegian friend Synnöve - we went traveling in Europe, the USA and around Sweden. This I painted sitting outside the hacienda we rented in Spain. We had just made love…
It was Synnöve who encouraged me to start to paint sooner than later. Synnöve had an eye for new and upcoming artists. Her meager salary as a nurse’s aid went many times to make installments on artwork by foreign painters. A couple of very well established galleries in Malmö, Sweden worked with her. Maybe her Norwegian charm and her personality contributed. That way Synnöve was able to gather some serious pieces of European modern art.
STARS NO STRIPES
Another of the early ones. I discovered when the painting was nearly done that one blue stars was missing...but I managed to get it in somehow. It is probably not accurate when it comes to the “lines”. But, it is a painting, not an illustration…
FAREWELL VIET NAM
I was at a nightclub in Malmo, Sweden a warm summer night. I guess the time was about 3.30 am – when four smart looking Asian women come into my view. I was not in my best shape, but I know when I see class. Besides, I liked their kind of “uniforms”. Maybe they were air hostesses – I have no clue. I just knew that I wanted to put the impression on paper. I left shortly afterwards and walked to my studio. An hour later or so, (it was a long walk and I needed that) I took out this 30” x 20” Hahnemueller paper, picked a brush and the colors and created this piece. The name however was not a given one. It took me some time to get the right feeling for it.
In Sweden we have Österlen, in Wisconsin there is Door County. With hills, lakes, woods, the long beaches, grassy fields with wildflowers, cozy restaurants and artists everywhere...
It was in Österlen where I had my first exhibitions. I partnered with another Swedish artist. Agneta Neroth. We talked landlords into letting us use space and then we advertised our presence. It was a fun time…
PEAS ON EARTH
Do I need to say more... But I can add that the original was painted on a circular cardboard dressed with linen. I can also mention that there are so far, four round paintings made. They are: Earth, Wind & Fire, Sunset Boulevard, Bulls Eye and this; Peas on Earth. Prints are only made from this one and Bull’s eye. The originals are scattered. Two are in Sweden, one in Minneapolis and one in Elroy, Wisconsin.
My life; close and long distance friends. A buyer of my art once asked me if I do water color paintings. I told her no. A couple of days later I had a go at it by adding a lot of water to the gouache making the image illuminated.
The Horizon is all around us, so close but yet far away...
This painting was created more like an experiment of simplicity. Still you can let your fantasy fly. Check the uneven horizontal line and start the travel in your mind…
When I put the name Distortion on it, I didn't look in a dictionary beforehand. For me this was Distortion...and it still is. I have put subtitles in English on all my artwork, already at my very first painting in 1987. Kind of strange perhaps, as after all I am Swedish...
I painted this a summer evening in Sweden. I was at a disco and I got this feeling that I wanted to paint the pulsing of lights and people. So I went back to my studio.
But before I went about it, I painted TULIPS. Sometimes when I have an image in mind I would like to paint, (it doesn’t happen often – but it happens) I need to flex my creativity beforehand. Tulips became the result.
Another of these rare occasions was when I wanted to paint Teamwork. I flexed my creativity and created The Web.
The mind works strange sometimes. But still there might have been an underlying meaning with it. As at the time I had my son employed as he was out of work. I called some people and suddenly we were making websites. I did the creative part and Patrick the technical.
While there is no story behind Tulips, there is one behind Teamwork. I was walking my dog Skutt an early Sunday morning in Sweden. When we came around a corner we run into an ice hockey team out exercising. I liked the colors they had on their dresses. The distinct, red, black and blue - made a nice color combination. We passed each other. Skutt and I walked one way and the team crossed the street.
The dog stopped to pee. IF that hadn’t happened this painting would never been. Nor would The web. While Skutt was taking care of business, I looked after the team. They had started to jump up and down on the spot. It looked cool. I memorized the image and I told my self, I am going to paint that. A couple of Sundays later I went down to my studio by the sea and went about it. Some time later THE WEB was created and soon after TEAMWORK became a part of my works.
BRICKS OF LIFE
Bricks of life is what life is all about. Sometimes there is happiness and joy, other times there is sadness and grief. The silver lining between the bricks is the oil which makes it work anyway...
The year was late 1996 and my first wife, Isobel from Ireland - was diagnosed with breast cancer and was given one year to live. The summer of -97 I was painting in my studio. But I was not happy with the piece I was working on, so I cut it in half and started to paint on the back. One after one, the bricks came out...and Bricks of life was created. The size of the original is only 7" x 9". I gave it to our son Patrick. Isobel passed January 10, 1998.
Isobel and I had been divorced 15 years by then, but we had Patrick - so I stayed in the same city while he was growing up.
I really wanted to seize the day when I painted this piece!
When I had the original painting at the last show I did in Sweden, in the spring of 2001 – a Swedish painter in his late 80ties approached me and said “Björn, I thought I would never see it in my lifetime. But you have created depth in a painting with use of only one color”. Maybe he was pulling my leg. Maybe he thought it was too much blue. I didn’t ask. I was just soaking it up.
I was watching a TV program about refugees from former Yugoslavia, when this old lady appeared on the screen. Her face was covered by wrinkles. It made such an impact on me so I couldn’t concentrate. Finally I had to paint it – then the spell released.
The year before moving to the USA, I went deep into Russia. It was a great experience. In the old churches the history of icons was very present...
BUT I LOVE YOU
This image speaks volume and words will not do it any justice....
I was traveling by train in the south of Russia in the summer of 2000. The train went very slow and along the train poorly dressed people were walking. I asked my fellow passengers, who were these people and why were they walking along the railway. I was told that it was very poor people and they were probably walking to some ones "dacha" - a summer residence - to pick fruits and then sell it on the market. And sure they had a bucket in each hand. What are they picking and how much do they get when they (hopefully) sell it - was my next question? Again I was told that they were normally picking prunes at this time of the year and that one bucket normally sold for $1.00. They walked two hours in one direction, picked the fruit and walked back. At the same time one liter (1 quart) water cost roughly one dollar at the same market.
No, I was not behind bars, but I felt I needed a change. I was running a creative specialty paper company and I made some decent money. However, I had worked it all up during ten years and I didn’t really care to take it further. I was bored. I wanted more out of life. I put up my profile on a dating site and was ready to go anywhere…
Wisconsin, USA 2001 –
September 2001, the Manhattan skyline changed forever. I was working in my office in Sweden installing TV on my computer, when a friend of mine called. Put on the TV he said. I just had got it to work and saw the second plane hitting the tower… I moved to the USA in November 2001
Before I got my resident visa and work permit for USA, in 2002 I went with some friends of my wife (to be) to the African inspired Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells. My “friends” were working different vendor jobs in the lobby area. When I a month later or so picked up my brushes I painted "ZAFARI"... which became the first painting I created in USA.
Everywhere people are using cell phones. Look around you. How many can you see using it?! Has our life become any better for it? How did we manage before?? I do sincerely hope - that at least it will be a National ban for using it to text while you drive. Concentrate!
When you are new to a place; In this case a new country, new friends, new job etc.
You have to do a lot of thinking trying to figure out the way to go. During this process I discovered finally, perhaps the obvious, but it doesn’t need much to get a different angle on it all. Something to keep in mind if you have lost your job or don’t know what do next.
The writer, Peter Egan, has a theory why there are so many cars sitting in the nature in Wisconsin... "The farmer puts the car there for spares instead of trading it in. Then, when the kids are off to college, they take it and return it when they are done...". I don't necessary agree, cause there are far too many cars just sitting there. Having seen these ugly sites I just had to paint it and get it off my chest... Then, some eight years later the steel prices spiked and most of the cars were bought up by cruising entrepreneurs.
I have had three employments during 34 years of self employment. These three times have all been here in the USA. Two in Wisconsin Dells and one time at Luby’s in San Antonio. The total time of employed work has been about two years. That said, now you know where I am coming from.
Going to work in Wisconsin I was driving on these patched roads...
This image is what United States is all about. With all these people, of different cultures, races, colors, and backgrounds. All living together...
With this painting I started to use more yellow then I had done before. The reason is kind of strange. The last time I returned home from Sweden; I was sitting beside a charming lady from the Philippines. As it is a nine hour flight between Copenhagen and Chicago, there is plenty of time for different topics. Eventually I told her that I was a painter. Just before getting off the plane in Chicago, She told me that I should use more yellow in my paintings. She had never seen any of my paintings…
Painted a dark night in the middle of February. It was cold and hostile outside
and the Wisconsin winter kept up its traditions. I just wanted to smell the summer...
Many of us have been there and experienced just that – Tequila Sunrise. The morning after the night before…
As I most of the time let my inner feelings do the painting, the name of this piece is KIMONO. My wife was preparing for a longer trip to China. The light strokes in the lower half of the painting was for me the elegance connected with a Kimono dress. Now it might be like that Kimono is more Japanese than Chinese… but this is not about facts, this is art.
When you live in rural Wisconsin. The wildlife is just outside the door. Wildlife can take many shapes. I let you create your own image of wildlife… and here I have at least left everything to your imagination
IN THE VALLEY
The neighboring kids playing in the tall grass, going for a swim in the pond, fishing in the streams. Those were the good times...
They just stand there, leaning against a sun drenched barn...in the Wisconsin landscape
I took our animals - three dogs and some cats on a walk every morning for six years. I was married and we lived in the beautiful hills surrounding Elroy, Wisconsin. One summer the prairie grass was higher than before. I walked barefoot through the big field with the grass up to my chest. I am 6.7 and it was a great feeling being all surrounded by this beauty.
I lived on the Wisconsin countryside during 7 years. One day I was asked by the local art association to contribute with a typical image of the land towards a part of a mural painting.
This is the art work I painted on a part of the mural in the city of Mauston, Wisconsin
After about seven years of marriage in Wisconsin I couldn’t go on with it.I had everything, a wife, lived in a beautiful house, countryside outside the door,dogs, cats, bird. But the restaurant I had was not working as I had hoped. There was not enough people to support it and maybe my attitude didn’t help. No life, no free weekends. Life was no fun anymore. At least I felt so. So on the way to Phoenix for an art show in 2008, I told my wife, who was along that I wanted a divorce.
Did I get a better life after that? No, I did not. Matter of fact it got worse.
I became financially broke*. But I had taken a decision and I lived with that. Finally, I gathered enough funds so I could get out of the depressing Elroy area. I moved to the friendly and warm San Antonio in Texas. I have been here eight months now and life is shaping up again.
*That I got broke had nothing to do with the divorce. We separated more or less as friends. What broke me was that I tried to help the community where I lived and communities around to get more tourists. I organized a motorcycle event. I don’t ride my self but I can create and I had a vision. So I made a website, brochures, maps, planned rides etc. The locals told me I should be happy if it came 50 people for a first time event. The first time, in 2007 it came 550 bikers from four states. Cycle World, the largest motorcycle magazine on the planet wrote 1/1 page editorial text on how well run the event had been and the beautiful ride I had organized. So, did also two British motorcycle magazines!
Second year it came tornado, flooding etc. Everything bad which could happen, happened. We also had a bike raffle. I could of course paid back the money to the people buying tickets due to the weather disaster. But I was thinking that in the long run the money will eventually come back. Besides, I walk my talk! Long story short, after three years the city of Elroy didn’t want my help anymore. They did prefer to go back to the bake & garage sales – turning around the same money all the time. The idea with The Elroy Bike Meet “A Rural Hill & Valley Experience” was to attract very much needed fresh money to the community.
I became flat broke. Not even money for gas. I had food stamps. My landlord - I paid with paintings. That went on for two years.
I will end this history with an image I painted the day I got the one month notice to leave my apartment/studio above my restaurant. It was November 2010. I had no money, no nothing - but I managed despite everything – to get back on my feet (eventually) During this, the worst time in my life I painted DESPITE, A NEW BEGINNING, STEP BY STEP, THE SPIRIT
I understood my serious predicament, but I also saw it as an opportunity for a change. I recognized for myself that I was better than ending up in this community. I raised funds by painting and selling smaller paintings to friends and family in Sweden. Gathered in all $1800 and contacted a friend I had in San Antonio. I asked if I could stay with him for a couple of weeks. Just after Thanksgiving 2011, I loaded up my car with art and hit the road. After two weeks in San Antonio, I found an apartment where I could wait to pay the first rent until February 1st. The same day I got a job as a pastry maker with Luby’s. I told them I will be here three months. In the end of March I left my job at Luby’s. My plan was to work 100% with my art.
So far that has worked just fine… and only because that I happened to come to San Antonio, with its Market days around the city. First Saturday each month in Helotes, 2nd weekend in Boerne, third weekend in Gruene and 4th Saturday in Kerrville.
It is a well known fact that you cannot sell Fine art at craft shows and flea markets. But as I had nothing to loose, I set out to prove the difference. You can do anything if you are persistent!
Texas, USA 2011 -
In San Antonio, I have painted the following paintings
Desert stars became the first painting I created in San Antonio. I painted it in April 2012.
New to San Antonio and with no money to spare, I spent most of the first year walking around the block where I lived. Around me I saw a lot of cactus growing. The desert stars I refer to in the title are cactus flowers which I made red and other colors - a month later they bloomed. they were mostly yellow....
Desert Stars is one of the six paintings in The Texas Collection
Some people liked the Desert Star image of that of the Texas National Park, Big Bend. So be it.
I have never been there and at the time of the creation, i had no clue of its existence.
Also one of my very first ones. Maybe the inspiration come of starting from scratch...
NO LOOSE ENDS
When I arrived to Texas in November 2011 after 10 years in Wisconsin, I had nothing. I had to start
it all over. When you have no money, you have any money. The only things I had brought with which
I could possible make some money from was some originals and a bunch of prints, So, where do you start? It is a fact you cannot sell fine art at craft shows, BUT I was thinking that if I go to these different locations every month. Like the 1st Saturday in Helotes, the 2nd weekend in Boerne, the 3rd in Gruene and the 4th in Kerrville, and I do that EVERY month - that should work So, the inspiration
to the painting came from that. I created my own gallery presence at those locations. I thought it through and left nothing to chance and went for it NO LOOSE ENDS
My second painting was a group of three paintings, not grouped as a triptych. They are not connected. And at that time, I had only heard the name " triptych ", I didn't know what it was. Here I managed to capture the essence of the San Antonio River Walk, with its angled streets going through downtown.
An interpretation of the city / cities I arrive to in the early mornings and leave at dusk -
after a day of showing my art works; in parks, along the streets, in shopping areas....
LIFE & JOY
A kind of nature pot of gold painting filled with joy and expectations...
I met up with my brother in San Diego and then we hit the road. The scenic Hwy 1 along the Pacific Ocean, Pebble Beach golf club for a beer at the 18th green. Fisherman's warf in San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Las Vegas, the Hoover dam, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Santa Fe, Fort Stockton and home to San Antonio
The road trip above, going through the Monument Valley stopping at small areas with items laid out by the Native Americans. I purchased a piece of rock through honor paying
Being a traveling artist, gives you many moments of thoughts. One day, I said to myself "one ought
to be able to create a painting with all the traffic surrounding, and the inspiring thought of Traffic was born.
Life is not simple, so once in a while everything turns into a turmoil - similar in mind to my earlier painting Transition.
In small towns and larger alike, there is always the inner circle making sure nothing changes.
Unless they all stand to benefit from it. In the business world of everything - that is called cartels...
FOLLOW THE MONEY
Follow the money is also an appropriate title to the the connected guys above...
In the fall, people travel to see the golden orange colors when the trees are making them self ready for the winter to come. See it happen along Mississippi or anywhere in Wisconsin where there are a lot of trees. In April, come to Texas, experience the landscape along Hwy 290 and other, smaller roads.
Texas Roadside is one of the six paintings in The Texas Collection
A composition of possible reality and imagination. There is a Rock Springs in Texas and one in Wyoming. i have been to neither
Rock Springs is one of the six paintings in The Texas Collection
STATE OF TEXAS
The Lone Star State
State of Texas is one of the six paintings in The Texas Collection
TROSSÖ 1 & TROSSÖ 2
When, Fredrik von Platen - owner of Galleri Fargladan in Karlskrona (Sweden) saw the tree paintings
I had created with San Antonio River Walk - he wanted me to do something similar to my exhibition in his gallery in the summer of 2014. And as Karlskrona is situated on an island called Trossö. I went online and looked at Trossö. But I remembered most of it since the time I lived there. Then I left it to rest in my head for about a week or two, letting nature take its course.
I decided to make two sets of three. With two similar areas of Stortorget (the Market Square) and 2 + 2 to connect with them. None of the images are replicas of how it actually looks - but they still have a resemblance familiar
Another, wildly popular painting. The colors are of those I see around me here in Texas. This image is a created purely, like 99% of the others - out of my imagination. This image could be seen as flowers in the wild or perhaps of those under the surface of the sea, like a coral reef'
Wildflowers is one of the six paintings in The Texas Collection
I have my Limited Edition prints on display and for sale at Gallery Vetro in the heart of downtown San Antonio. The owner, Mr. Phillip Schrank asked me in October 2014 to create a Bluebonnet painting. I told him, " I do not paint bluebonnets ". The reason for me was simple. None of the pieces on this website have been created of objects.
Bluebonnets is one of the six paintings in The Texas Collection
Many artists go out with a camera or a sketch book and try to copy what nature or someone else has already done perfect. All my art is coming from the inside. I don't set out to paint anything specific (except Teamwork). My images come from the way I have lived my life. So, for me to create something hundreds of artists had done before, was so totally out of my comfort zone. But, then of course I liked the challenge. Then Phillip told me "do it your way but make it iconic". I knew I had free hands. it didn't need to look like all the others artworks of the Texas pride, the Bluebonnets
THE TEXAS COLLECTION, ( TTC for short) Learn more here
STREETS, BLOCKS, & NEIGHBORHOOD
When I. at one time was able to buy a lot of large canvases to a very good price - I couldn't resist that... Though I had no clue what to do with them all. Then one day in October 2014 I
started to paint the last canvas in what eventually came to be SBN 1.
When I had created the narrow piece SBN 1, I hadn't yet figured out what to do with it. And remember, as I am self-taught, I had no idea about triptychs. Anyway I was elaborating adding another larger square to the left just to see what happened, which then became SBN 1. In that process I saw a city coming to life under my hands....
There are SEVEN triptychs. All with the same color spectrum.
The size of each horizontal triptych is 84"x 36". I created these during 2014 - 2015, acrylics on canvas
Under the process of painting the 21 paintings as the seven triptychs above consists of, a mistake
is bound to occure. I made a field larger than the balance of the initial part of the triptych could handle. At least the way i see things. So, I repainted that part of in the triptych and suddenly, I had a free standing piece of art. I called it Streets
When you live a life like mine, nothing is certain.... though I have some structure
I believe this is the only one of my images you actually can hang ANY way you want.
The thoughts take different directions, depending on new input every time...
Long distance relationship, frustrations, pain in your heart, your body...take your pick....
Sometimes, in between things..you don't have everything in order and you have to play the cards you got. There might be a thought, but the is No structure. Time will show. It can be between jobs, relations, moving. It is for entrepreneurs as well as everyone else... it is a transition
... with emptiness surrounding you. It its you up. There is nothing you can do to change it really.
My recipe is to take time out. Don't try to achieve anything nor do a thing...time heals all wounds...
one way or another. Sometimes it is better to just be...lying on the top of your bed doing nothing...eventually the reason to go on, the solution will come to you
These two paintings belong to each other...and from here on
The true reason behind this painting, is the hardship of getting accepted by the San Antonio
academic art educated, establishment. I don't think it is because I am a foreigner. I think it has something to do with a combination of, that I am not of Latin heritage and that I am self taught.
I have not followed the "rules of how to paint" taught by art educators....
So instead of getting my art in with galleries in San Antonio, I have been left to figure out how
to go forward and at the same time make a living from it. Now, I don't care anymore, I have after all manage to sell A LOT OF ART between San Antonio, Houston and Austin.... but still it irritates me
I remember once, being at one of these craft shows in the beginning, I was showing my art at Gruene Market Days, in Gruene, Texas - when a smartly dressed woman approached me. She seemed rather upset. Then she said "What are you doing here? Your art belongs in a gallery, not here!"
Then she asks me if I have applied to the Fiesta Art Show, organized by The Southwest School of Art.
I told that I had, but that I was not accepted. Then she said, please apply again. I said no, if I am not good enough the first time, I don't apply again. "PLEASE, do it - your art belongs there!" I got the understanding that she had something to do with it. Ok. I applied again and was not accepted.
Then I became irritated and applied one more time. Not accepted. Conclusion: their loss....
I led the way of introducing Art at the Market days around San Antonio. My basic thinking behind that approach was, despite that I knew about the unwritten book of rules for selling Fine Art and Fine Craft on flea markets and craft shows. But, my own thinking went like this, if I come to for example to Helotes Market Day the First Saturday of each month, and Boerne the 2nd weekend and Gruene at the 3rd weekend EVERY month. If I do that, I make that my gallery presence in that area at those dates and by doing that the visitors are bound to see that and start to buy. The turned out to work as anticipated....
So despite, that I have sold my art to all 50 states, some of my sales through The Artful Home - but mostly through my extensive traveling and the many shows I have taking part in...I don't seem to be good enough for the established, art community of San Antonio....
So finally, the inner of me put it all on canvas FRUSTRATIONS
ART BY BJÖRN - ART WITH MEANING, ART WITH CONTENT