Annette Falk Lund is a visual artist from the former DDR, now living in Nothern Jytland/Denmark. She makes a living as a self-taught artist. Read her story in this interview
When- and where were you born?
- I was born in 1964 on the Baltic Sea near Rostock in the DDR (East Germany).
Where do you live now and how long have you lived there?
- Since 2007 I have lived in North Jutland/Denmark by the fjord and the North Sea.
How did you become an artist?
- In my school years I have mostly drawn portraits of my schoolmates and landscapes. During high school, I met once a week with a group of painters witch the artist Wolfgang Petrovsky headed.
I’m attracted to all artistic expressions like literature, theater, music (especially classical), film, ballet or art. Adventure, drama, masks, life and death - everything was so great and deep on the stage, in books and on canvas that I could not live without it.
When I read philosophy, politics and history in Leipzig, I continued with water color paint, tried oil painting and graphic materials in Petrovskys art club.
I took a long time to find out that I would rather be an artist. It was clear to me one day that it was only possible to make the dream come true if I decided upon it.
At the age of 32 years I had my first exhibition at Amager in Copenhagen/Denmark, and since then I have been working on the painting as a self-taught artist.
When you want to be an artist, it requires stamina, concentration and a strong will.
What is your motivation to make art?
- Playfulness. The desire. Longing.
Playfulness, so it should be fun for me to be at work.
Desire, because I love to immerse myself and surprise myself.
Longing, because I feel a compelling need to use my longing.
The Danish painter Rene Holm said sometime in 2012 to a journalist in Thisted, when he exhibited in the Old Town Hall "Art is something you devote yourselves to". That I recognize in my own work. In a continuous and investigative work process I wish to articulate a vision, a message. People and their ways with each other on the one hand, and the material, all colors, paper, canvas on the other hand, constitutes the motivation. The goal is a picture that is well painted, poetic and alluring.
Another motivation to paint full time is to sell my art. When businesses, schools and private people buy my art, it gives recognition and an economic foundation to develop myself.
Tell me about your inspiration and what you find particularly interesting to investigate in your artistic endeavour.
- I make sketches, small drawings of something I do not know if I need. For several years I was engulfed in oil painting. Now I have exchanged the canvas for paper, and I paint with gouache, a very pigment rich water-based paint. In the beginning there is a choice of a limited color palette, abstract forms. I turn the paper/canvas many times during the working process, before I am caught by something that can become a good character and with others compose a good story.
For periods I work with specific themes such as: vanitas, blind dates and wolves hours. What happens when love turns into hate, or when we experience something ugly as envy within ourselves? While I paint, I have no thoughts of that kind, because I am concentrating on what happens with the colors. The painting should preferably hold a secret and radiate magic.
You have made artmoney for many years. How have you used artmoney? Do you have any suggestions as to how other artists get the most out of artmoney?
- Yes, it may be 15 years ago that I made my first artmoney!
Last I used artmoney as payment was at Christmas. I swapped a Christmas tree for an artmoney with my neighbour. Over time I bought books and an overnight stay at hotel. When I hear an interesting lecture, I keep artmoney with me in my bag. For often the lecturer sells a book that I buy with artmoney. I have also paid with artmoney at the hairdresser. Sometimes I keep artmoney with me and show them to friends and acquaintances. In 2013 the inspector at Thisted High School purchased more than 100 artmoney as part of the staff's Christmas gift. Many people regularly buy my art and collect my artmoney. I have also traded artmoney with other artmoney artists and built up my own artmoney collection.
I am outgoing and introduce different people for artmoney. Sometimes during business-like contexts, other times in more informal situations. In 2012, I organized a small group exhibition in Copenhagen over a week and invited the owner of Ibsens Hotel, Kirsten Brøchner as a speaker on her experiences on the use of artmoney.
Lately I have felt that people are more and more interested in the use of artmoney as “money.” They ask for stores and retailers that accept artmoney as payment.
I think as an artist it is important to take the time to philosophize about one's own approach to artmoney. And when I use the term philosophize, I mean really dive into it, reflect and ask yourself: Why do I invest my energy in this? The motivation may be found in different directions. Is it mostly because sales of artmoney must be an important source of income? Then you need to make a lot of artmoney and make yourself visible big time. Is it mostly because I want to meet new people and make them interested in my art? Then you can you tell people what you really want with your art, what occupies your mind and heart. Is it mostly because I play with it, or I want to find new ideas and test new materials? Then is the sale of your artmoney not the point, but then you are using artmoney as a kind of sketchbook. Once you know your own approach to the idea, your own motivation, then you can better convey it to other people. You will be able to inspire other people with your own enthusiasm about the vision of artmoney.
When you are not the "artist," who are you then?
- I do not think I can distinguish between my identity as an artist and not an artist. But if you ask me, what else is on my mind, then I can answer the following: I am mother to a 27-year-old daughter and the wife of Thomas, who comes from West Germany. We have different life experiences from our upbringing in two different systems and are almost daily engulfed in discussing’s and asking each other questions. I read a great deal. Right now it's Viktor Klemperer's diaries about the time in Berlin between 1933 and 1945. With gardening I keep my body strong and taking a dip into the cold North Sea a few miles from my house, is not the worst thing I can think of. I love to travel, mostly in Europe and see new places. Last year I was in Prague on a four-week tour through Germany.
What are your personal hopes and dreams?
My dream is to experience ceramics. I am thinking of finding a potter that I can collaborate with. Imagine my painted characters, stories, and quirky creatures made as large pots, bowls and reliefs?
A collaboration with a well run gallery is also on my list. I imagine a relationship characterized by mutual understanding, sincerity and great impact that can build up a long-term cooperation.
I hope to work at larger scale than the ones I've been involved in so far. For example, to make decorations for the construction of a hospital or a school.
Cooperation with a gallery could also mean that I can better concentrate on being creative at the studio.
What are your dreams and desires for the world we live in?
In Denmark, we live in a well-organized society in safety and with a certain prosperity compared to many other places. For that, I am very grateful.
Still it is going the in wrong direction, and my wishes are towards more authenticity, more professionalism and more laughter. This requires time, attention and focus. Courage is also important in this context. It is less risky to "like" someone else's opinion than to learn about a topic, consider it, making up your own opinion and verbalizing it at the risk of being misunderstood, or perhaps actually being understood and course a public outcry as a result.
It's hard to dream when the news are filled with war and disasters around the world. I wish above all peace in this world. Creating peace starts with ourselves. When we practice in being open to everything foreign, and when we ask questions.
I wish for will to make peace among the politicians in the powerful countries. That they are genuinely interested in finding a consensus and working together. But the global battle for energy resources is in full bloom and it seems that powerful forces support the politicians.
What will you tell the reader, if you get total freedom of expression?
- Hmmm, freedom of expression. We need to discuss another time…
But when it comes to Artmoney, I can say the following:
The vision of Artmoney for me is to create a counterweight to greed and profit aspirations of our society. Money radiates enormous power and energy. People stumble over dead bodies, betray their best friends, cheat and deceive in order to get rich. Too many people are sitting in the wrong place, toiling a lifetime with work that makes them sick.
Imagine if we live in a society where no one exploit others, and all are equal, and work brings out the best out in every one of us – a society where it's not about money and status, but more about a person's thoughts , feelings and dreams, and what we can create together.