Litro #152: World Series: Sweden -Artist Q & A with Maria Friberg

Maria Friberg

We interview our cover artist this month, known for her works revolving around themes of power, masculinity and man’s relationship to nature.

Tell us about yourself, your background and ethos.

I am an energetic and playful person with an impulsive love of starting new projects and taking risks. I was raised by my mother and for a while we lived in a commune. Our home was always open, which meant I had the chance to meet many different types of people. This was during the 70s when there was a feeling we could work collaboratively to change the world for the better. Coming into contact with such a broad spectrum of people was a formative experience that has influenced my artistic practice.

Who inspires you?

My surroundings were full of creative energy when I was growing up, my mother was a ceramicist and hairdresser. We also had an artist living with us for many years, me and him used to draw and paint together after school, a process that was very calming and helped me focus. I was also drawn to his free and exciting lifestyle.

How did you get into art?

I started to study art history but soon afterwards felt it would be far more fun to create art. My mother has supportive of me, even today I still love to discuss my works with her.

Visual art, like all art, is about communication and expression. How does your work fit within our cultural conversation? And how do you ensure the conversation carries on with your work?

I´m a social person and like to talk about my art – and I of course use social media. But the artworks also live their own life. As an artist you have a great sense for what is happening and what is soon going to happen, you pick up the mix of feelings in the air, and then you create a work from that. I feel that if I create something that communicates the mood of a period, then it is a sign that I have succeeded.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

That cardamom bun with plenty of butter. Yummy.

What’s your earliest childhood memory?

I was four years old when my grandmother fainted and the ambulance came to pick her up. It was a scary experience and this has stayed with me.

How do you relax?

I walk and swim-outdoors, I love to be outdoors. I also hug my husband a lot.

Can you give us your top 5-10 tips for budding Artists?

Be focused on your ideas, don’t take on too many side projects and don’t take that extra job that drains your energy and time. You must believe that your income will come from art, even if it’s difficult in the beginning. Trust your ideas, don’t judge them. Have fun, your art is your life.

Could you name your top five Artists – and explain why they impress you?
Ann Edholm. Abstract painter. She and her art is so bold and honest.
Janet Biggs. Video artist, noting can stop her on her big and adventures projects in remote places.
Sara-Vide Ericsson. Painter. Small things that feel mysterious and unexplainable.
Vilhelm Hammershoi (1864-1916). Painter. For the Nordic melancholy light and colours and romantic lonesomeness.

How would you define creativity?

For me it’s like an extra door that you didn’t know existed that just opens from the side and you see things suddenly in another ways. It’s like your brain opens up from your normal routines and you think in new ways. I have to be relaxed for new ideas to come to me. To be creative you have to see the possibilities that are everywhere. And use them.

In an internationalist, interconnected world, ideas and creativity are constantly being flung across community threads, internet chatrooms and forums and social media sites (among many others). With so many different voices speaking at once, how do you cut through the incessant digital background babble? How do you make your creativity – your voice – stand out and be heard?

I have a problem with background babble, I cannot think and feel if it’s too much. I slowly learn how to choose what information I want and when so I can be intact. Concerning my art, I trust my ideas and work and give them just a great push out in the world. And hope they will start the conversation.

What’s next in terms of future projects?

The future is open, I’m just trying to breath after my last project, Matador.The project involved building a massive vortex in a tank filled with 6,000 litres of water. Many professionals were involved, including a carpenter, glazier and pump- technician,camera man, light technician, yet we still had major technical issues. It was my most challenging project yet. I’m so happy and relieved that we succeeded: there was a point in which I thought we would get nothing out of it.