Digital artist Magnus Gjoen, on mixing Destruction and Delicacy!

" art is me and only me..."

"Roses Are Dead"

Interview by Henry Gomez

Q1. In your own words please explain what it is that you do.
With my art I try to use the unexpected, revisit the past and find beauty in objects and try to shed new light or twist their meaning into something contemporary that is relevant to myself and society today. 
Q2. In your youth, did you feel pressured to follow a more traditional career path?
I’ve been working in fashion up until recently, however I was always known as “the creative one” in my family so it was expected that I would choose that path. I was however pressured into getting a good education, which in hindsight I’m very happy I did.
"Worries Go Down Better With Soup"
Q3. You have now become a recognized figure in the art scene.  At the beginning of your career, was your work ever rejected?
If so, how did you react to that? From my more than 10 years as a fashion designer I have learnt to do a lot of research and listen to advice from other people, I haven’t necessarily taken this advice, but it helps. Ultimately it’s more about trusting my own instinct and knowing what people will want. Some people don’t agree with my work, however I don’t expect everyone to.
Q4. What has been your favorite job were you have been able to express your creative talent?
I have been lucky to have worked in a few of the most notorious fashion-houses in the world, however my art is me and only me, so I have complete creative freedom if I want to.
"Vive la Reine"

Q5. Which artists inspire you and why?
I am a great fan of the Old Masters and Flemish painters, but of course contemporary artists such as Thomas Doyle, Polly Morgan, Gilbert & George, Koons, Murakami & Rothko are a few of many that inspire me. Unfortunately the Old Masters are a bit dated for a younger audience. They are awe-inspiring and beautiful, but lack the edge or twist which make them able to be current and comment on today’s society. Contemporary art is so varied and I enjoy when they comment on something. It doesn’t have to be intelligent, but thought-out and smart.
"Flower Bomb"
Q6. What artwork do you have on your wall? 
Dare I say that I have my own art on my walls?
At the moment I only have about 5 hanging as I’ve had to take a lot down because they’ve sold. I usually replace them with new ones, so there is a constant rotation of art on my walls. My favorite ones I of course keep. I do also have a few ltd. ed. B&W fashion photographs. I am a big fan of furniture design so I have a lot of that type of art in my flats. 
Q7. What is the process you use to create your wonderful work? I do a lot of research.
If I get an idea I try to find out as much as possible about the subject. I try to get the viewer emotionally involved in my art. There is a lot of deeper symbolism and co-notations.
Sometimes I start pieces and have to let them lie as I’m not happy with them. Then suddenly maybe a few months later I’m in a museum or on the street and I see something that triggers an inspiration on how to finish the piece. 
Q8. When generating ideas what are you influenced more from, your imagination or reference material?
Often when I’m not inspired I will sift though reference material or go to museums. Usually however it starts with an idea and from there it’s defined or elaborated through reference material.
Q9. So far you have used skulls, guns, portraits, a soup can, bombs, Jesus Christ as well as I’m sure more ‘canvases’ in your work. Are there any other ‘canvases’ you are planning on using that you would like to tell us about?
I’m about to finish a diptych with Adam & Eve (“Break Glass for a New Beginning”) for an exhibition in May.
I’m also making a hundred of my “Worries go Down Better with Soup” porcelain soup-cans for this exhibit. Only the future can tell what will inspire me next.
"Roses Are Dead Broken" (Name TBC)
Q10. One of your latest pieces is a fantastic 3d lenticular print called "Roses are Dead", which I personally believe is going to take you to another lever in your career.  Damien Hirst recently released a lenticular print as well, which is a limited edition of 5,000. 
Why did you decide to go with this style, and what do you hope it does for your career?
I had a really short time-frame to make “Roses are Dead” as it needed to be ready for the London Art fair. I had been shown the Damien Hirst lenticular, and was a bit apprehensive about choosing the same subject matter. However I would have to make it my own and different enough as well as  find a back-ground story that would work. There should always be a reason or explanation behind my work.
I had never done a lenticular, but I needed something that would stand out a bit more than a regular Giclee print (which it literally does).
I got this idea and at 3am in the morning I closed my Mac after having done a draft. I woke up the next morning and I was luckily still happy with it.
What it will do for my career I’m not sure, however I think it brings a new dimension to my work and is something I will continue doing.
Q11. What advice would you give to people wanting to become a professional in the same field as yourself?
Try to give people a little bit of what they want. You’re an artist but also a businessman/woman.
Q12. How do you feel about the your industry today?
I think it’s great that the art-market has not been hit as hard as others in the economic down-turn. People are still buying art and as an artist that’s of course great.
Q13. What would you say is the public’s most popular piece from your portfolio of work?
My “Delft Machine Gun” (Uzi) sold out pretty quickly, however “Mala Fide” (Jesus with the machine guns) is the image that has been most viral.
"Death Passed Upon"
Q14. What is your favorite piece from your own portfolio?
Up until now it’s been “Break Glass for Second Coming”, however I’m sure it will be replaced by newer pieces soon. 
Q15. What are the hardships that come with being an artist like yourself?
You have to learn a lot fast and I’m not talking about the creative side of things. More about running a small business etc. When you start out I think a main issue is also cash-flow, but this gets better as time goes by.
Q16. What is the greatest thing about working in your industry?
I would say it’s the freedom and people you meet along the way.
"Lucanus Cervus Aureus"
Q17. If you could have asked anyone for advice when you were starting out;
Who would you have liked to ask?
I asked a lot of questions when I first started out. I was starting in a business I had little clue about apart from the creative process. If I could ask anyone it would be Charles Saatchi.
What would you have liked to ask?
Probably a million things, I can’t specify one thing.
Q18. What courses/classes would you recommend someone take if they want to be a professional in a similar field as yours?
I think first and foremost one needs to have passion for what one wants to do. A creative degree whatever it is will hopefully help a person understand the creative process better. A lot can be self-taught although a background of some sort helps prevent common pit-falls. 
"It's A Fearful Thing To Love What Death Can Take Away" 
Q19. Share with us your proudest moment in your career so far?
I think it has yet to come...
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