Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mats Minnhagen

Mats Minnhagen
images copyright Mats Minnhagen

10 Questions With Mats Minnhagen
1.... who is your favorite artist ?

Tough question! There are so many brilliant artists out there that inspire me, in all kinds of different styles. It's hard to pick out a single favourite. But I can name a few that I keep coming back to: Paul Bonner (link), Craig Mullins (link), Justin Sweet (link) and Stephan Martiniere (link). I also like 19th century painters like Anders Zorn (link).

2.... do you offer workshops for artists ?

Not really. I've done it a few times but not enough to get into it. I guess I'm still so focused on learning that it feels too early to teach. But I know teaching is a way to learn, too - it forces you to structure your thoughts so you can explain them. I should propably do more of it, I can see myself running out of excuses.

3.... what do you like to listen to while you work?

Almost anything! Since the advent of Spotify I've become a musical omnivore. But it depends a bit on what I'm painting. I still regard heavy metal as existing in some sort of symbiotic relationship with the fantasy genre. There's nothing like a high-pitched vibrato wail to get you into that epic mood!

4.... what medium and tools do you use to create your art?

Nowadays it's all Photoshop. I like the way digital tools enable you to have a much more experimental workflow. You can try out variations quickly, move stuff around, etc. For me, that freedom boost creativity.

5.... during an average week how many hours a day / week do you work on creating art?

I aim for eight hours a day, five or six days a week, but in reality it varies quite a bit depending on the workload. Sometimes I do nothing but work, eat and sleep for months at a time. Sometimes the workload is a lot thinner, but then there is always something else I should be doing - practice drawing whatever I'm lousiest at, work on my own paintings, etc. However, I'm careful to separate work from free time by not working from home. I go to a separate studio that I share with some other people. To me, that's psychologically important.

6.... are you working your dream job?

In many ways, yes. I love drawing and I've always been doing it. I might not have a blissful smile fixed on my face every single day, and I might not be the richest man on the planet, but I definitely consider it a luxury to spend all those hours doing something that I actually care about, rather than something I'm indifferent to. For me, that's important.

7.... do you feel its important for others to pursue their dream jobs?

Extrapolating from my own experience, I'm tempted to answer yes, but I realize it sounds patronizing to say that people who are not working their dream jobs ought to pursue them. Who am I to say what they should value in life? I'm sure there are many ways to be happy.

8.... where can people see your work (online, conventions or exhibits)?

My art is best seen online. Some of it can be found in book stores, mostly in Sweden. I sometimes exhibit physical prints too, but not very often.

9.... was there a certain moment that you knew you wanted to be an artist ?

As a kid I pictured myself becoming an artist, but I took my time reaching a decision. For many years other interests dominated. I studied History and Archaeology at university and worked as a field archaeologist. Over time I gradually found my way back to art. Today I sometimes worry that I lost too much time, that a horde of hyper-committed teenagers will trample me. But I'm also grateful that I've done other things in life.

10.... is there anything else you would like to add or say to other artists ?

Keep up the good work! And thanks for having me on the blog!

Mats Minnhagen
images copyright Mats Minnhagen

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