Exploding in a silent way
She mixes music and paintings. She finds inspiration in little details of life. She believes that art is a therapy and that it helps each of us to express and explode our feelings in our own way. An artist from Sweden, Emma Lindström, spends every single day creating beautiful paintings and hoping that no matter how different people are, in her paintings they can find something that speaks to their inner selves.
What’s your relationship with arts and painting? Has it been a part of your entire life?
I guess I’ve always had a tendency towards the arts. I started playing various instruments as a small child, but it wasn’t until high school that I found painting as a means of expressing myself. I found that I could do exactly what I wanted to, let all my feelings burst out of me onto the canvas. This was so powerful, that I actually felt I no longer the need to bang the drums to make myself heard. In art I found a way to allow my emotions to explode in a silent way.
Do you see painting as your hobby, job, therapy or all in one?
I see it as all in one. It might have started off as a hobby and therapy combined, but it soon became clear to me that there was no other way for me to go. I simply had to make it my job as well. It’s not always been easy, and it’s honestly still a bit of a struggle, but I’m so grateful that I get to do this. The good thing when you’re doing something so true to yourself, and when you’re lucky enough to get to call it your job, is that it doesn’t feel like a job.
What techniques do you use in your paintings?
I’m not even sure whether I could actually explain my technique in words. It honestly varies from time to time, and I continually experiment with new things to take my art further. Sometimes I succeeds, sometimes I don’t. Sure there are a few elements that, at least for now, stays the same from piece to piece. Up until now I’ve almost exclusively based my works on acrylics. On top of that I experiment with other media to get the right texture, flow and blending, as well as separation of the colors.
As I said before, painting is not just my hobby or a therapy. I think it’s important to preserve some of the “mystery” around my works, so there are some techniques that I keep too myself only. I honestly have no backup plan in life – art is all I’ve got, and I would like it to stay that way. It might sound greedy to some, but I respect the integrity and work of all others that have found a way to make a living out of what they truly love, and I ask people to respect mine as well. Maybe, and hopefully, one day I will no longer need to hold on to my secrets, or I would rather call them findings, anymore.
I still consider myself as a searcher and a student. I’m constantly amazed by other beautiful artists. Sometimes I experiment, and try to mimic some artwork that inspired me, but always fail. Every time I try being someone else I end up as myself. But that’s all part of the game, and part of how you find your own thing. And I think it’s nice that we all have our specific places in this universe.
Could you tell us about your creative process?
To be honest, my mind is really quite blank during the creative process. But it starts with me putting on my painting clothes and some nice, suitable music. Then I either make a rough background layer on a new piece, or continue on a work in progress, or both. I let myself get completely drawn into the creative process, and just feel what needs to be done on a specific painting at that particular time. To let the moment guide me is a very important part of my creative process. Then, all of a sudden, I wake up, and it’s time to get back into the world.
Where do you believe does the creativity come from?
I believe it comes from the core of the universe. Life itself is creativity. In order to get in touch with it, you have to really feel life. And I guess we all feel life in different ways, but for me it’s about stepping down from my mind and into my heart.
What is your biggest inspiration?
I would say the creative process itself, in the way that it constantly teaches me about life and myself as a person. It has proven time and again that I should continue on the path that deep inside I feel is the right one for me. It has never let me down yet. I’m also incredibly inspired by the beauty of life, as seen either through a telescope or a microscope, or in plain sight. Also, as other great artists and visionaries never seizes to amaze and inspire me.
Do you need a special mood or atmosphere to wake your imagination up?
As soon as I start painting, imagination and creativity arise. It’s never failed me yet, and I’m so grateful for that. Of course, some nice music helps setting the creative mood as well. I need calm, harmonious and beautiful, preferably somewhat dreamy, music. It all has to fit together.
Blue and purple are dominant colors in your paintings. What hides behind these colors? Do they have a special meaning for you?
I’m intuitively drawn to certain colors at certain times. I try not to think about it too much, and just go with what feels right. This often results in pretty distinct periods of certain colors in my work, as you can see.
I also see lots of different small details in your paintings. Are small details important for you in your work and life? Maybe they have different meaning too?
Small details are what make things fun, what can keep the mind occupied and entertained for a while. But just as with life in general it’s the whole, “the bigger picture”, that’s really important. Without the right background, the details will only be a stressful and meaningless mess. I want the viewer to be able to zoom in and out of the painting, to actively study it in detail, as well as step back and rest their eyes and mind in the wholeness of the painting for a while.
What do you reflect, express in your paintings? Is it a mixture of emotions or something related to your personal life?
My art works are my personality, they are large bursts of pure emotions and energy. There is no thought involved. Of course I can sit back, after putting away the brush and paint bucket, and reflect on the outcome and how I can make it better. But in the actual making, my mind is completely blank. I think this leaves room for my innermost self to come out.
How does your usual day look like? What part of it does the painting take?
My day usually starts slow and steady. I have to take time to adjust to the new day ahead of me and set the right conditions for what to come. I can’t just jump out of bed and go directly into creativity mode. First, let me at least have a cup of coffee in peace and quiet, and take the dogs for a walk. Painting can take up everything between six and ten hours of an average day, sometimes more. If I don’t get interrupted or have somewhere else to be, it’s easy for me to get lost beyond time and space.
How long does it take you to finish the painting?
It depends. Usually it takes a couple of weeks. I really don’t have the patience to work on one particular painting too long. I’m quite impulsive, I instantly want to get things out of me, convey them onto the painting and then move on to the next one. Which is why, I think, this abstract expression suits me perfectly. And usually I work on at least a couple of pieces simultaneously. I work on one while the other dries between different layers. Sometimes I go back to a finished painting to rework it, if I’ve grown bored of it. That obviously only happens when I’m allowed to hold on to a painting for too long. So I guess a painting can only be considered as finished when it’s no longer in my possession.
How does the space where you paint look like?
I actually just moved from Stockholm back to my home town Gothenburg, so I paint at home for now. The splashiest parts I do in the basement, away from dogs and precious things that I keep at home. Then I finish the pieces off wherever I can find a room. Obviously I need to find a studio, or a bigger home soon.
The very first was actually in my first apartment for my friends and family. It was a very big thing for me, to take the step and show my work and to be proud of it took a lot of courage. And it still does, even though I’ve become more confident and sure about what I do over the years.
What other hobbies and activities take the most time of yours?
As well as painting, music is also a big part of my life. Me and my husband make music together under the name Canigou. We’re still only at the beginning of that journey, but we are very excited to take it further and see where it might go. With Canigou we’re trying to create an atmosphere that resonates with what I want my paintings to express. It’s truly amazing to get to express myself through music as well as through my painting. I think it all forms a perfect circle.