Meet The Artist: Marit Geraldine Bostad
Posted on December 19 2016
Here at CultureLabel, we want you to know and love our artists as much as we do!
We are proud to introduce Marit Geraldine Bostad, a Norwegian painter, who creates stunning abstracts from her studio all the way in Horten, Norway. A regular at London's best art fairs and with a number of solo shows to her name, Marit Geraldine is taking the art world by storm - one to watch!
What drives you to create art?
Growing older – people seem to lose their curiosity. I am constantly trying to absorb my environment by letting my guard down. Invite my curiosity in, and push boredom and “take for granted” away. More and more often, I find myself working with themes from everyday life, what surrounds me - what stays with me at the end of the day.
It can be a visual from nature, or some sensation a place gives me, or it can be as simple as a nerve in a conversation. If I actively use some seconds to save this memory, I can use it later. An interesting abstraction in itself – that is continued days, weeks, months later on a canvas.
Often, 2-5 paintings can grow out from the same memory. And sometimes I combine different memories that don´t belong together – to push me further into unknown territory. A right kind of wrongness, an interesting contrast.
What does painting mean to you?
Last year I truly got the answer to that question. In a search for something bigger I deliberately locked away my paint, my canvases, all my materials. How would it be not to have permission to paint for 6 months? How would it affect me as an artist? The project gave me some crucial answers. I think it developed me as an artist, and perhaps as a person as well.
The first weeks were unbearable. I felt weird, sick, unbalanced. But, after the immediate, first period of longing back, everyday life absorbed me. I became distant. Blurred. A good friend even asked me if I was depressed. I stayed in there, followed my project. 6 months became 7, because I was afraid and insecure – going back to my white canvases was hard. How did I do this? And where did my desire go? Once I pushed myself to get going, by force - my world collapsed. Into something true, meaningful and strong. The gratefulness, the nerve – the speed!
I have never experienced myself more “manic”. I produced so many artworks in a short period. Everything was so easy, and I recognised this place that I had been to so many times before. Suddenly I could describe every second, register why and how, I saw myself from inside out – or outside in. It reminded me of a place where I was a lot as a child. Even though very different. Layers of learned, layers of unwritten rules – were suddenly gone in a minute. To be able to connect with myself in that way gave me so much valuable to work with.
I see many common links to other parts of life in this project as well. Withdrawal from what you desire the most, can give you a new, truer version of yourself. As long as you don´t give up on finding your way back to that version.
Painting is undeniably a big part of who I am today. Without it, I get lost in a world set by others. I get passive and lose my nerve. It can sound like a cliché, but when I paint – I can give something true back to the world and make people connect to something bigger or unknown. What a painting actually represents is unique to everyone. I have my version, but what people get out of it is truly personal. That is what I love so much about the abstract painting. The artist is almost forgotten, and that is to me a true meeting.
You were originally an art director - What made you decide to change career paths to focus purely on painting?
I got lost in my computer, the real world became distant, cold. Everything was concentrated around delivering answers to a bulletproof brief. About selling. A big commercial system that slowly took away the real joy. I simply had to get rid of all the filters and shortcommands, and even bigger commands - and so I did”.
To work with my hands and feel the material is essential to me. From the day I started as an art director, I painted regularly on weekends – whenever I had time. I didn't see it as clearly as now, but it made me so happy and motivated. It gave me the right balance in moving forward, growing up. When I paint I go into another place. Not by trying – just by being. Interaction with my tools, my colours, the white canvas that is being covered, layer by layer. More and more hidden. When I am in that state – finding a connection with the artwork piece by piece - I have learned by experience, that someone else will also connect to it. Some might not even register it, but others can´t forget the meeting. Everything was so clear to me. A crucial moment in life that made so much sense.
Tell us about your studio - why did you choose to work there?
I fell in love, again.
There is this beautiful place outside my ”hometown” Horten, called Karljohansvern. It is an old naval base, and I was so lucky to have parts of my childhood there. Not many people lived there, and it was so free and unique. Not always practical (two parents without a car) We walked long distances every day to get to school etc. But everything was an adventure, so much to discover by the seaside, in the woods, surrounded with old historical buildings – it was like living in another century.
After moving back to my little hometown Horten, from Oslo 7 years ago (where I studied and worked for 14 years) - one day I was so lucky – a friend of mine told me there was a possibility to rent a space in the old horse garages at Karljohansvern. Since the navy is not there anymore, they are inviting new culture to the area. Such an interesting mix. Today the area is a popular place to walk/hike in, but also to open doors to small, unique boutiques, cafés. galleries, places you can´t experience in the city. So one more time I fell in love with this unique place – but this time I was so aware of it. A wierd combination of travelling in time, that fills me with so much gratitude.
Describe a day in your studio
It is almost always a positive experience. Days in my studio are happy days! No schedule, nobody telling me what to do. I almost always work in silence... but I have brakes, and then I turn up the music – evaluate what I have done, talk to myself. Walk away from the canvas for a while, try to meet it like a stranger. No phone, no interaction with the world, no likes, no disturbance. Sometimes I take lunch out with friends in the area. But often I don´t want to ruin the flow that I am in – so I grab a bite at the café – and can´t wait to get back. It might sound lonesome, but it is rather the opposite. Painting is like a rush... it is in my system for hours, but you can lose it, it is a fragile, weird state. If breaking up with big themes and conversations – it can be gone. I have done that a couple of times, and it is heartbreaking trying to finish something you can´t.
Choose 3 adjectives to describe your work
Intuitive, rich in colour, passionate.
How do you begin a painting? Do you plan it at all?
The plan can be little, or it can be big. Sometimes the longing is just enough, I just know what colours to prepare, and I can sense a route – where to go. Other times, I have a set palette – a set amount of canvases. A bigger plan. Usually I work with two or three paintings at the same time. My recent project was a different one – and it was so great. I deliberately wanted to see what music would do to me. A planned disturbance that would free me from normal painting routines. Two songs from a Norwegian electronica band made my canvases change. They take you into a dream world.
It is all about challenging yourself; jumping into the unknown. If you get too comfortable in a place, you lose your nerve and curiosity.