Interview with contemporary oil painter Andreas Englund

Based in Stockholm, Sweden Andreas Englund is mostly recognised for the photo realistic and humoristic oil paintings depicting the everyday life of an anonymous superhero. The series ranges from the superhero’s first mission as a toddler to being an old man, still struggling with everyday trivialities.
 
 
 
“Working with communication became a natural choice for me since I´ve always wanted to share my thoughts with others. Either through conversation or visual media I want to share insights and thoughts, experience and humor. My foundation is based on storytelling and communicating.
The super hero concept showed out to be an inspiring concept/theme and it has opened doors to other routes and motifs – contributing to define the kind of artist I am today.“
 
Discover more about Andreas and his work on his website were you also can see videos and buy limited edition prints.
 
Hello dear Andreas, please, tell us how did you find the artist inside you? How long have you been doing art? Is art something that you always wanted to do?
 
I have always been painting. But the concepts and motifs I do today started in the early 2000. So I would say that was when I felt like an artist for the first time. I felt I had something to share with others. Something personal and to me exciting to express.
 
 
 
 
What was / is your major influences? Other artists, books, movies, music or any other media....What inspires you to create your artworks?
 
I get inspired from other artists who use communication as their tool. I like the work of Banksy and his follower street artists. Photographers like Helmut Newton and David la Chapelle. But also classic fine artists like Edward Hopper. Movies is also a big inspiration. Many of my motives are similar to film clips. You can imagine what has happened and also guess what is to happen.
 
How does "a normal day of artist" in your life look like?
 
I would say that every day is very different from the other. During the periods when I paint they look quite similar but in between those periods I do a lot of other stuff to create the ideas I paint. To me the work before I start to paint is the most important one. If the idea isn't good enough it doesn't matter how good-looking the painting becomes - it will still be uninteresting.
 
 
 
 
What’s your background? Are you self-taught artist or did you study art? Do you think an art education is important or imperitive for anybody wishing to be an artist? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages that you have encountered throughout your career with/without the formal training of the Art Academy?
 
I didn't go to art school and I think that was good for me. What I wanted was to learn about communication. That's why I became an Art Director at first working with concepts and ideas. I also think that today's modern art schools don't teach the classic way of painting the way it was before. I think school and education needs is very individual. As long as it doesn't limit your progress education is fine but you can't teach everything at school. I try to put myself in new situations where I might feel uncomfortable but that is also when I learn and grow as a person.
 
What fascinates you the most about surrealism / pop surrealism / contemporary art / lowbrow art? How would you describe your style? What themes do you pursue, what surrealism mean to you and what do you hope the viewer will take away from your art?
 
It's inspirational and it talks to me. I actually haven't thought so much about what kind of style I paint. Probably a mix of styles. I guess that is similar to other artists writers directors or musicians they just do what they do and don't think of what their style should be called. I want people to take with them a piece of the good energy I want to send through my paintings.
 
 
 
 
What do you love most about creating and being an artist? What does “being creative” mean to you?
 
The freedom (of course) but also the possibilities like there is no limitations - that motivates me.
Being creative to me is to create big out of small.
To find possibilities within limitations.
To identify/find unexpected connections between subjects that don't usually mix.
 
Can you describe your typical workflow when you’re working on your art? What are your tools of trade? What medium do you most often use and why?
 
When I know what idea to pursue I start taking pictures. With the pictures I build the scene I want to paint  in Photoshop. Then when I think it looks good I can start painting from that sketch usually with oil on canvas.
 
 
 
 
Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet?
 
I quite recently met a guy whose name is Onur from Switzerland. He usually paints with a roller. With that roller technique you can paint both small and huge motifs. I would love to learn that technique and be able to paint on the huge walls in the future. There is a project coming up this summer in Rochester NY. I might try it over there.
 
Tell us more about your workspace. What was the most funny or weird thing that happened to you in your studio? What is / was the most strange thing hidding in your studio?
 
One time I was working on an idea where the superhero was coughing in smoke. We feel the studio would smoke and my friend who's a photographer took pictures of me coughing. The whole studio us soon filled with smoke and I was coughing my lungs out. Luckily we got material that worked, finally...
 
What toughest challenges have you faced as an artist during your art career? What is the biggest lesson you have learned so far?
 
The toughest challenge so far was when I got a commission from Sony PlayStation and the time schedule was very tight. I worked several days around the clock and most of the time until four in the morning. One time I actually fell asleep while I was painting. It was just for a brief moment but then I felt it was time to go to bed..
 
What I've learned is to be visible and let people who are interested in you find you and they will come to you. I think that especially applies to gallerists. They want to discover you not the other way around.
 
 
 
 
What’s the best and worst advice you ever received in your art career?
 
The worst advice I got was to look up galleries/call them and present yourself and see if they like what you do. 9 out of 10 times they weren't interested. If you don't have a very strong self-confidence that might be devastating.
 
The best advice is to let people who believe in you help you. Listen to people who are good at what they do - they often give the right input. Be careful to take advice from people who themselves haven't had a good career.
 
What do you dislike about the art world? What is the hardest thing on being an artist? Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
 
I'm not sure I dislike the art world it's just that there's a lot of things that is so very different from where I come from. It's important to me to work with people who I feel comfortable with.
 
When I'm painting it's a lonely job sure but in the idea process I work with a lot of other people. It's fun and I also try to get as much feedback as I can - to push the idea forward - hopefully to make it better.
 
 
 
 
Where do you see yourself in the future? Professionally, what’s your goal?
 
I want to keep challenging myself as an artist and never stop learning. I don't have any "final goal" I think.
 
Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others? Maybe advice for beginning artists out there?
 
Have fun work a lot. Meantime try to find out what makes your art special/interesting and build on that.
 
Your favorite art or life quote is ...
 
"Can't is the cancer of happened" - Charlie Sheen
 
 
 
 
What are you doing when you’re not creating? What (other) hobbies do you have?
 
I have a family with two small kids so that takes most of my time and I love being with them. Otherwise I like to go to the cinema, do all kinds of sports and sometimes play computer games.
 
Do you have an online portfolio, blog or social medias where we can view your work?
 
Yes, you can find more about me at www.andreasenglund.com , Instagram or Facebook.
 
 
 
 
Is there anything else you’d like to say? Is there any project you are working on right now or any ongoing event or exhibition you would like to share with our readers?
 
I just shipped a couple of paintings to Taiwan  to be part of the "Art revolution Taipei" exhibition in May. Then it's "wall/therapy" in Rochester NY mid/late July.
 
Thank you dear Andreas, it was a honor to interview you, I wish you only the best for you and your art and already looking forward to see your new art works :)
 
By contributor Linda. Mar 2015. Find Oh, So Surreal on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google + or RSS.