- SVEIN KONINGEN -
Creating began for me at the age 4 building a boat at my Dutch uncles Riva Boat factory in Amsterdam. My first gallery visit was age 3, visiting Rembrandt’s Night Watch at the Rijksmuseum… a rather daunting painting for a small child. Studying art and industrial design I quickly found abstract painting was a passion that continues today. A blank canvas becomes a story… the paint, the brush with the subconscious flow, all coming together creating on good days a vibrant abstract story on canvas. Exploring the relationship between colour combinations and texture, working intuitively using large palette knives then paring and scraping back paint revealing glimpses and stories within the larger abstract story. Heavy texture is the focus of the 2017 Paradisaea Series of seven paintings. The series is primarily abstract with the title being the name of the Birds of Paradise, from Papua New Guinea. The series title came after the completion of the works and seeing the colourful abstract birds in flight. Change is a constant in my work and my life with movement the place to live giving new experiences which of course comes alive on the canvas in the studio. Moving my studio from Noosa Heads Australia to Bruges, Belgium and now, back to Australia. Moving forward with a new studio is once again the challenge with a blank canvas.
I, Svein Koningen, was born in Trondheim, Norway where my mother and I lived for the first six months of my life. We joined my Dad in Amsterdam living around the corner from the Rijksmuseum and the famous Albert Cuyp straat market. My first big art exposure was Rembrandt’s Night Watch. My uncle was an expert boat craftsman building the Mediterranean Riva boats and my dad was a metal artisan. My family moved to Australia for three years but ended up staying with many trips back to Amsterdam and Norway. I studied arts and design but didn’t quite complete my course – being an arrogant young man I wanted everything modern which did end well with my lecturers and myself parting ways.
I have always had great respect Willem de Kooning – his absolute dedication and fortitude creating stunning abstract paintings. Gerhardt Richter has influenced my work from around 2000 - 2008. I was fortunate to visit his 2005 respective in Dusseldorf - a completely awe inspiring experience.
More recently having the privilege to visit GOMA Brisbane exhibition of Richter’s deeply moving four large works of Birkenau, the death facility of Auschwitz, painted from photos he had had for many years. Was difficult to leave the room!
Mark Rothko work is so pure… the most beautiful colour work. His life story, his devotion to each particle of paint created the most stunning colour works in history in my opinion.
Somewhere sometime there has been an experience that then comes out on canvas. The canvas becomes a story with the subconscious doing the creating. Sometimes it comes from a simple cow in a lonely paddock or a harsh landscape. I want to convey a sense of balance and harmony with colour and texture.
I have moved through many different changes in my work. Moving overseas to Belgium was a huge change which gave me new experiences and new styles emerged from this time. One of my favourites being the “Nature or Wilderness series” inspired by the stark summer in Provence, France colours. The light on everything from dawn to nightfall is magic.
I work with all mediums but acrylics have allowed me to produce paintings that are very textural with thick paint which doesn’t take long to dry. The speed of drying also makes me more spontaneous which helps reduce over working. Currently I am working on a portrait with oils which is a nice change.
I have occasionally worked with galleries around the world although I mostly sell through my own ‘living studio gallery’. I have had studios at various locations both in Australia and overseas, but now mostly sell online.
With art sales being my only source of income ,the slow sales of galleries, ie. being one artist of maybe 50 artists, then the 50% commission which is well earned with a great gallery, but would not give me the income from my own art business. I am happy to work independently with my wife being my manager.
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