My goal is to create the feeling of an obvious organism, nothing should be missing or feel superfluous in the composition.
Coming from a background in Art Direction and Graphic Design, Kristofer Salsborn translates his love for strong and clear, almost logo-like, shapes into his paintings. His works are strongly influenced by the era of hard-edge painting, yet seem to emanate a certain sense of humanity - of life - cast in abstract form. Their deceivingly simple organic shapes convey a feeling of movement and generate an energy that engages the viewer and make the eye wander, while the simplicity of their colour palette provides a moment of clarity and calm.
INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST
Q. Coming from a background in graphic design and art direction, how did you evolve to being an artist?
A. In my profession as a graphic designer and Art Director, I usually work with other people’s and companies’ ideas. It’s fun, but I have long missed and dreamed of creating my own form of expression, my own world where it is me and no one else who decides. But it has taken some years and many dismissed media and projects before I found what was right for me.
Q. Do you think your previous professions find their way into your work, or do you consider them two separate practices entirely?
A. Absolutely, they merge. I draw a lot from my profession as a graphic designer. For example, I have always loved making logos, and I probably apply a lot of that craft when I create my current work. You see this in my pursuit of pure and graphic shapes and desire to create something that is visually interesting in a simple way. In the search for my own form of expression, I have, probably unconsciously, considered myself a company of sorts, in need of a visual identity.
Q. Could you describe your artistic process?
A. It differs depending on what the end goal is of course. I like to create shapes or characters by hand directly on canvas, paper etc. That is a very direct process, where there is not too much thought and planning beforehand involved and where the hand can run free. My cut-out shapes require a different process. Technically, I always start by hand, with pen and paper or with an iPad. When I have found a shape I believe in, I digitize it and clean it up. Then I have the outer shape cut out of a thick material, usually MDF. After that, it’s time for sanding, polishing and priming, followed by masking and painting in turns until there is only varnish left.
Q. Your works are very dynamic and organically shaped yet maintain a minimalist aesthetic, what would you like to achieve combining these seemingly contrasting traits?
A. My goal is to create the feeling of an obvious organism, nothing should be missing or feel superfluous in the composition.
Q. Your pieces show a relationship to the work of the hard-edge painting movement, what inspires you about this way of working with paint and colour?
A. I love the clarity. It’s something deep inside of me, I think. Ever since I was little, I carefully painted inside the lines of the colouring book. It is probably that feeling that still translates into my work, that there is a clear goal with the artwork. When all the fields are filled in, it is finished, it’s as simple as that.
Q. What brought you to work with three-dimensional panels, rather than flat canvases?
A. The shapes I work with are not really three-dimensional but just cut out flat shapes. I think it’s fun to try different ways to translate my form of expression, be it line drawings, cut out shapes, flat canvases, sculptures, a mirror, or something completely different.
Q. Your work displays a joyous yet rather soft-toned colour palette, how do you arrive at your colour selections?
A. Unfortunately, I can not say that I have any strategy behind my colour choices. I love colour and do not want to limit myself to a specific palette but paint with the colour combinations I like in that moment. Sometimes they’re strong colours, sometimes faded colours, sometimes it’s fun to use matching colours, and sometimes it’s fun to try colours that clash a bit.
Q. What would you like your work to evoke in the viewer?
A. My wish is that I can evoke some kind of calm and curiosity. Calm in the sense that the shape feels obvious and solid in its expression and curiosity in the sense that the painting can assume different shapes depending on who sees it.
Q. Which other creatives do you admire?
A. The list is endless. But I always get a lot of inspiration and creative desire from Josh Sperling’s artworks, his pure shapes always make me want to get better. Brian Donnelly (KAWS) is another one. I love how he creates so many different things based on his personal form of expression and platform. But of course there are many more!
Q. Could you describe your work in three words?
A. Playful - Calm - Movement