'To do anything without love and passion is never good' says artist David Myrvold

Published: 24 August 2014 | by Janine Dube
'To do anything without love and passion is never good' says artist David Myrvold
David Myrvold's Larch 2014 - Photo supplied
Artist David Myrvold has achieved what most can only dream of, making a living from doing what he loves doing.

David's work is varied and he is fearless when it comes to trying new ways of creating art.

His work is recognised and sold internationally and now David also teaches art to young people in Trollhattan, Sweden, and tries to empower them to embrace their creativity.

In an interview with OneVybe, David spoke about challenges artists face, his work and his upcoming exhibitions in London and his homeland, Sweden.

David Myrvold's Alder 2011-2014 - Photo supplied

OV: When and how did you become a professional artist?

DM: I grew up in a home on the countryside, where pictures and conversations about art and nature were constantly present. My understanding of what it meant to work as an artist was based on rather vague grounds. I was taught that it was more important to obtain a good education and a good economy. This stood in sharp contrast to the life I knew I wanted to live and which I now live. I do not know when the feeling of a "professional artist" appeared? Maybe it was when I had the honour to take on my first assignment as a board member of a major Swedish artist organisation? Maybe it was at one of my first individual exhibitions?

OV: Was it always your plan to do art professionally?

DM: As long as I can remember I have wanted to work with images. Maybe not necessarily as an artist. In the beginning of my career, I was pretty naive (maybe still am?). Did not realise how big the art world could be. Nor did I realise how small the pond could be, where everyone "knows" everyone. When I turn around and look back, I see a winding road with a lot of decisions that were not always so wise, but slowly and surely brought me to where I am today. A persistent and painstaking work many times, besides the efforts in the studio.

OV: What inspired your style at the beginning and what challenges did you face?

DM: During my studies at the Royal Academy of Arts in Stockholm, Sweden, I was often told that I devoted myself to a kind of anti-painting. That I tried to retrieve the painting from the high Helm Seats and Pedestals that history has put them on, through a crude and disrespectful treatment in execution and presentation. It is true that I tested materials wildly, but my mind was never to perform an anti-painting. My idea was to explore the possibilities and limitations of the materials. Something I still do.

OV: Are you still inspired by the same things now?

DM: Inspiration can go in circles. For very long my biggest area of interest were the body and religion. Now it's mostly about nature and landscape. But in reality everything fits well together, even if I choose to focus on the trees and vegetation right now.

OV: You use various media in your work, what affects your choices?

DM: I always try to stay open-minded. As I previously mentioned, my creative process may seem irreverent – mixing materials such as paper, wood, photography and colour. I would argue that my work is done with the utmost respect for each material's different inherent potential. However, I am constantly trying to challenge and test the limits of these materials, and I am not afraid of drastic changes in the picture that is emerging. Something as ephemeral as gut feelings have been taking an increasing larger place in my creative process.

'Puzzle' from David Myrvold's concept sketch for a kindergarten outside Gothenburg - Photo supplied

OV: Which media do you like using the best and why?

DM: Difficult. If I only could choose one basis and one type of paint it must be the panels' dumb rigidity and the oil colours' smooth ride on its surface.

OV: In your view, is art still valued and do you think young people see it as a valuable career option?

DM: Right now Sweden is experiencing an at times heated discussion about art's conditions and purposes. We have politicians who express their "concern" for artistic freedom and the public's skepticism about expensive costs of public works or buildings. Sure, one can see this as if art still has a provocative and relevant place in our minds. On the other hand, one might say that art and its practitioners are still quite unfairly treated considering constructing public works for small sums, working for free or for low payment or for being grateful that the value of one's art "increases" when displayed at the more significant institutions (which is impossible to prove). As an artist, it's nice with the assignments that bring financial security for a long time. So if one only sees his oeuvre as an opportunity to make yourself a career, then you are in it for the wrong reason. Surely the dreams are there, the will and the fight as well, but first and foremost, the passion and the love of art must be present. To do anything without love and passion is never good.

'Puzzle' from David Myrvold's concept sketch for a kindergarten outside Gothenburg - Photo supplied

A career as an artist will always be highly valued in a society based on the basics about self-realisation and marketing of the self. Who does not want to be seen, who would not want to be appreciated for their effort? All artists carry on a more or less salient thought about immortality. This line of thinking is something that we fed our young with since antiquity.

OV: Do you do any work with young people?

DM: I have an appointment as an art educator at a Youth Culture House - N3 in Trollhattan, Sweden.

OV: What kind of things capture their imagination?

DM: Our mission and focus is to provide all children and adolescents in the municipality of cultural experiences in their own school environment, arranging cultural experiences outdoors or on different stages around our region. I believe that children and adolescents have the right to take part in arts and cultural experiences of good quality. On behalf of Trollhattan Municipality, we encourage all children and young people in Trollhattan to be given this opportunity (0-25 years). As an educator, I work together with the regular school staff and are accustomed to interdisciplinary collaborations. I have discovered that it can be anything that arouses interest of young people. But often my work is about empowerment in project design and basic knowledge of art history or knowledge of colour theory. And sometimes you only need to look to yourself. Who does not like to be in a context larger than yourself? Who does not like to see their contribution in a context that is outside of what you can create by yourself?

OV: As an internationally recognised artist, where do you find your work is appreciated the most?

DM: I feel ambivalent about this question. I have certainly been most active in Sweden but have to admit that my work recently found more appreciation in the UK and the US.

David Myrvold's Oak 2011-2014 - Photo supplied

OV: Why do you think this is the case?

DM: I tell myself that it's all about tradition and the battle for space. In Sweden, I feel that the representation of the abstract imagery is somewhat limited. Moreover, markets in the UK and the US are also simply bigger. The abstract imagery feels more present there.

OV: What have been the highlights in your career so far?

DM: Maybe when I got into art college, my first major solo exhibition or the working grant from the Swedish Arts Grants Committee? But I would make it easy for me by listing the exhibitions and scholarships as great moments in my career so far. Meetings with culturally engaged people at different faculties, institutions or artists are far more important at this stage. That I have been able to travel, teach, lecture and work in the studio while I raise four children, I see as something important.

OV: Do you have any upcoming shows?

DM: Right now I am taking part in the exhibition "Off the Wall" in London. Later this fall, I have my first solo exhibition entirely based on graphics in Gothenburg and at the beginning of next year I am booked for a show in Nemeshallen, Harryda (also outside Gothenburg) and possibly in Kalix in northern Sweden.

OV: Where can people view and / or buy your work?

DM: Contact me through my homepage www.davidmyrvold.se

- OneVybe / David Myrvold

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