A Studio Called Käse

An introduction to print maker Olle and the Käse collective.

I’ve always been able to use my imagination to see the potential in things considered trash by others. By bending rules, refining or redefining certain objects, you learn to create a lot by yourself. I think it’s an ability that originates from my childhood and grew from the lack of money we had, in combination with plenty of spare time. I remember the game Super Mario Bros that fascinated my brother and me.

Of course we couldn’t afford a Nintendo console so we drew pictures of how we thought it looked and made controls by painting wood blocks. Then we sat for hours looking at the drawing, “playing” the game.

I think that type of solutions/inventions have always been a big source of inspiration to my work. An approach to life: everything is achievable.

Today I live with my family; girlfriend and my baby son, in a local suburban area south of Stockholm, Sweden. It’s a good place to live, we have a small allotment and I share a printmaking studio with two friends that are three blocks from our flat. I try to construct my life as stress-free, just concentrate it to a few specific things (It doesn’t work). For the moment it’s growing crops, chess and spending time with my son.

The studio is called Käse, it works as a workshop and are also the name of our art collective. Because we can’t afford a big printing press or screen printing table, we’ve decided to design our own print equipment and tools. It’s been a couple of years of trial and error. Therefore I’ve been forced to find an aesthetic that fits the printing method and at the same time keeps everything very analogue and graspable. I find it very stimulating because you have to work more physically to produce something. That’s a way for me to get things done, to activate the body because it keeps me focused for hours.

I always have a plan before I start to create; the content or a theme comes first.

It’s like fragments of idea’s floating around in my head and suddenly something just triggers the ideas to merge into one visual narrative, almost like a vision. Mostly the narrative is fictional but with a lot of references from my everyday life. Because it takes a long time to develop and process an idea until it’s visualised, I usually get bored of the original plan, so ideas and expression shifts under the process. After a while, the characters and objects in the images take control and begets mutations, embryos for new ideas.

My objective it not to make something that feels frightening, It just turns out that way. It has become my style. I find it hard to ignore injustice and darkness around me. I can’t see myself standing with all my privileges and paint flowers. That’s ignorant. I need to address serious issues and process them. At the same time I need to be ignorant and paint flowers sometimes to counter the depressive state that can devour me. I’ve always been contradictive in that way. I find it more elevating to be able to shift ideals, moral stands and truth.

Humour is a central part in my works because it fits so good with darkness. Like pink and black colour on the same canvas, a natural balance. I can give a face a leery appearance because it gives me a laugh and I like to have small things in my works that are just for me, like a secret bond. Printmaking always has a tendency to look stiff so it needs to be lit up in several ways, humour is one.

 

 

Often I find it hard to describe in words what I’m actually trying to address.Talking can be a very blunt tool. For instance, when you discuss something, the outcome is mostly predetermined and leads to a consensus. Or that one part is wrong and the other one is right. But it could also be combining thoughts to reach something/somewhere else, which hardly ever happens. Hence I think by creating art you find new ways of communicating with others and yourself, allowing you to actually reach new contexts and scenarios.

 

 

Photography by Christian Bagge