Jon Bøe Paulsen

Born in: 1958, Oslo, Norway
Lives in: Oslo, Norway
Describe your art in three words: Hard hitting fist!
Discipline: Painting, Watercolor, Drawing, Printmaking
Education: 1977 Eksamen Artium, Oslo, NO (College degree)
1979 School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA
1980-1984 Norwegian State Art Academy, Oslo, NO
See More Work:

Narrow Escape - Étroit S'échapper: Oil on canvas 86 x 115 cm

"A clair obscure painter who tries to enter a world where photography cannot follow."

What themes does your work involve?

Pictures speak louder than words, they say, and the centerpiece of my art style is probably light in the dark. Being a painter suits me perfectly since I like to be my own master. Art must move into a world where photography cannot follow. Hell cannot be photographed, only fixed to a canvas through an artist's temperament.

Describe your creative process.
I can sometimes work with a theme. This year I am working on a frieze about violence against women and one of the painting is presented in this final. Last year I concentrated on historical paintings about Jesus' suffering, death and resurrection, although I would not characterize myself as a religious person.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
The subconscious works more than you think, and it refines the themes and motifs, but it can take time. Personally, I don't feel that the role of art necessarily needs to be topical. Of course, I am also influenced by the troubled world we live in with war in Europe and the Middle East, among others, but I try to work in long lines. If one day I were to run out of ideas I would stop painting.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Good art is characterized by flaws and temperament. It matters little even if it appears helpless and unable to communicate if the audience nevertheless perceives a burning commitment. Art is at its best when the work appears with a clear message. The person who created the work must not accept many reactions from the public if they are the result of a misunderstanding. An indisputable message. From the artist. Then it's art.
What is the role of the artist today?
I felt as a child that I might have a talent for drawing and in a small country like Norway it was possible to become a visual artist. Amateur theater gave me a lot, but the actor is dependent on other people's decisions in order to work. Film director would be difficult since the language community was too tiny. A visual artist can more easily follow the landscape from an economic point of view and early on I had bad experiences of being dependent on the favors of powerful people. A sculpture or a painting is done by one person, not a group and I have always been impressed by that.


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist