Happiness came to me the day I got the opportunity to become a student at the Nerdrum School. It was an immediate confirmation of the values I was seeking. There were no strange questions like “why do you want to paint like the old masters?”. I came home.
I felt the resistance against the way I wanted to paint. More than one teacher encouraged me to quit this “constrained style”, and some students told me that they had “moved on” after a figurative start. I was stubborn; I was hungry to learn about how the old masters painted.
I remember that a student in my class (a terrible draftsman), got accepted into the National Art Academy in Oslo. He brought his household goods to the audition, and got in. I applied two times with my paintings and was refused admission. That was when I understood that the doors to the academy were and always will be closed to me. At the same time, it was hard for me to call myself an artist. It felt wrong. I could not compete with those who got accepted into the academy because my ideas were wrong according to them… I felt lonely.
At the Nerdrum School I found a community that shared my values and goals. There I was introduced to Kitsch. It was early 2000. I still struggle to find galleries who will exhibit my work, and I have never received a grant from the state to help me on my way.
I am affiliated with the kitsch group. I belong there. I am a kitsch-painter.