Published Aug. 17. 2015

Me, myself and artmoney

I have always been drawing and painting. Like any other kid. But I never stopped. Unlike most kids.

Since I went travelling over the summer, I found no time to conduct an “artist of the month” interview. I have now returned and send some questions to the next couple of subjects. While I wait for them to return their answers, I might as well ask myself a few questions and share my response to myself with all of you…

What is your name?

They call me Lars Kraemmer, but my full name is Lars Christian Erbou Kræmmer. My parents named me Lars for no good reason. Christian was the name of my grandfather and the King of Denmark. Erbou was the name of my great grandfather, who moved from the island of Ærø to the island of Samsø in Denmark. They called him the Ærøbo (the one living on Ærø) and that eventually changed into the name Erbou. Kræmmer originates on the island of Samsø. It means small-time businessman, and I guess that is what I have become.

Where do you live, and how long have you lived there?

I share a small apartment with my wife and two kids. It is located in Frederiksberg, which is an independent municipality surrounded by the city of Copenhagen/Denmark. My studio is a couple of blogs away, and I consider that my second home. I have lived in Frederiksberg for 10 years. Prior to that, I have moved around a lot and spend about 7 years in Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

My studio in Frederiksberg

My studio in Frederiksberg

My studio in Frederiksberg

My studio in Frederiksberg

Why did you become an artist?

I have always been drawing and painting. Like any other kid. But I never stopped. Unlike most kids. In my pursued for a professional trade I attempted to become an architect, a carpenter, an advertisement draftsman, a graphic designer and a priest. But none of those trades fit my sense of purpose. Eventually I went to Art College and completed an education with a major in fine arts. Why? I finally realized that I was actually pursuing a professionally acceptable excuse for being myself.

What is your motivation for making art?

My motivation for making art is the desire for getting a life. When I draw or paint I force myself to focus on what I see and what I imagine. The creation of art is a wonderful trick to activate all the senses and experience life in all its nuances. As such the impact of the experience of living leaves a lasting impression in body, mind and spirit. Each moment experienced through the creation of art becomes a building block in the construction of a human being. Art is like a journey through the senses. Travelling is like being awake. Seeing is like living. Art matters to me.

When this is said, another important motivation is that of being together. Art is probably the best language of global interaction and residual understanding. There is making art and there is enjoying the art of others. Art is a picture. Art is sculpture. Art is a song and a dance. Art is words of consideration. Art is fashion. Art is architecture. Art is music. Art is social. Art is mega social.

You made the first artmoney in December, 1997. What does artmoney mean for you in 2015, nearly 18 years after?

If each day is a chapter in life, and each moment in the creation of art is an impression with a story to share, then 18 years is – well, 18 years. Artmoney is a gigantic story. It is not my story alone. It is the story lived and told by more than 1000 people from more than 50 countries. In that perspective, artmoney has brought to my attention intimate thoughts, feelings and doings of many, wonderful people. Artmoney is slow money. It requires time in the creation and time in the spending. It helps me to slow down until I reach the speed of humanity. That is where life is felt. Where it is possible to listen and possible to be heard. That is where I like to be.

Artmoney has also solved the economic riddle. How to make a living as an artist? By simply drawing the money and spending it directly in shops, I have found a way to collapse the illusion of money and discover the source of real value. I love to draw. It makes good sense to spend my drawings and buy myself some freedom instead of spending the money of the government and buy myself a seat on the train of financial slavery. I still spend ordinary money, because it is fast and easy, but artmoney has added an important dimension to spending – the dimension of human value.

When you are not “the artist” – who are you?

There are vital circumstances, where art is non-existent. Circumstances in life, where the next of kin is of greater importance than ME, ME, ME. In those circumstances I would be: The son, the brother, the husband, the father. I find myself being anything you like, and I find that interesting and important. First and foremost, I try to be myself, which generally means “the artist” in order to feed all the other characters in life. And behind it all lies a greater truth about existence. Somehow we are all one.