Linn Byrkjeland (b. 1991) work is linked to mythologically charged landscapes, playfulness and inner realms. She works through intuition and learned methods that take shape from colors and end up as portals to a different dimension.
How would you describe your work?
A sensory experience, a physical process. The paintings are created from inlearned methods and intuitive processes that start where the colors begin to take shape and end up as windows to different universes. The expressions in the paintings are linked to the physical, the sensual and the everyday life. Eyes, limbs, feet, and abstractions are linked in a mythologically charged landscape. The painting creates a deepened space of an inner world, full of hope and playfulness.
What has been your path to choose this profession of making art?
I have experienced the world through color for as long as I can remember. Always found it thrilling to create my own universes and stories. So becoming an artist always felt just a natural way of being. But this started to root within me at the age of 14. After this it has taken many different paths. A big change for me was when I got in to Tromsø Academy of Arts in Norway in 2017. It opened up a lot of inspiration and possibilities and for this I’m forever grateful.
What kind of themes do you like to work with in your art?
I like to work with creating a myth and an universe. That is inspired by my childhood forest in Mustasaari. A coming of age story that takes place in a fantasy landscape filled with creatures. Temples, guards and the forest. All the adventures and meetings the main character “Aina” is going through and all the sideline stories, it is what I'm working on and what I like to work with in my art right now. So the big themes would be: mythology, the mystical, nature and fantasy.
Where do you work and what kind of a place is it to you?
I have worked in many places the last couple of years, in Norway, Denmark and Sweden, but this summer I have worked in my family studio back home in Mustasaari, Finland. Which has been very special for me, because it's here where it all started. My studio is my sacred place. It´s here I can dive into pulling out the universe that is bubbling inside me and have fun. I think it's important what kind of energy you put into a space, because it's from this energy you can build and grow.
How do you tune in to your creative channel and get ideas for your work?
I turn to music, I walk in nature, I walk around in cities, I hang out with animals, I try out new recipes, I see someone walking past me in a fabulous coat, I visit churches or I have a look at a construction site with a lot of bright colors. Anything and everything inspires my work. But music is where I always find the connection and rhythm when starting or continuing a work.
What have been important steps and happenings in your life and artistic path so far?
Getting into Tromsø Academy of Arts in Norway was a big step for me in 2017. This opened up the door to Denmark for me, where I went to study a semester at Funen Art Academy in Odense in 2019. It felt like coming home really, this city filled with H.C Andersen fairytales in every corner. It was here the eyes to my works started to appear, where the abstractions in my earlier work started to come alive.
Do you have any specific people or artists who have influenced your way of doing and seeing things in life and in your artistry?
I think each and every beloved person I have or have had the pleasure to have in my life, have put their mark in my way of seeing life and art. But there are a few artists that have really made an impression on me. They are Niki De Saint Phalle, Reima Nevalainen, the COBRA movement, Emily Gernild and Tove Jansson.
What would you do if you wouldn't make art?
That’s a good question. Maybe I would work within the culinary field. Food is very inspiring in itself.
What makes you feel at ease and happy right now?
Long forest walks, working out, meditation, my loved ones, finding music, experimenting with foods, staying at the sea, playing the piano and creating art.
Linn Byrkjeland was part of Marcy's Unraveling Exhibition in 2020.