International Artscum Blog

Beauty in decay (Interview with Axel Torvenius)

8. September 2012 | Comment

Appears in INSIDE artzine #15 (with other stuff) buy online You seems to be an multitalent: Paintings, drawings, sculptures, photos… and what should I say, all of your artistic directions are on a damn high level! Do you have an artistically schooling or is it just god given talent?!

Axel Torvenius: First of, a big thanx for saying that. Much appreciated! I have always  bee creative. I started off drawing alot as a child and moved into working more with sculptures in my early 20s. At that time I also started working with t-shirt designs, photography and graphic design. my path of development has always been a mix. I have attended several educations. First a mixed more free 2 year long education, exploring many different medias and techniques. after that I studied animation for 2 years at Konstfack in Sweden, and from there I moved over to a 3 year long education in info-design/infographics and illustration at Mälardalens Högskola. I do find though, that is is often the long hours you spent by yourself exploring different ideas and techniques in your spare time, outside school – that actually is an equally important part of growing as an artist. You have told me that some of your paintings are so called “speedpaintings” (max 20-30 minutes). Sounds like big fun, working for half an hour with this impressive results:-) Which sort of you wide range of artistic expressions makes the most fun to you?!
Axel Torvenius: The speedpaints are something I started to do when I was employed at my other work starbreeze studios. It was a good and fun thing to start the day with in the morning, to get the creative juices flowing and warm up the wacom boasrd. Also, extremely good practice to have a set time, for an example 20 min, that you HAVE to create something under. That will teach you to narrow down your choices and speed up your workflow. forcing yourself to be more bold and much more quickly nail elements in an image to get some kind of result n that short period of time. Is there a similary creative process behind the way you create your different art or has each sort his own rules, boundaries or possibilities?! Which medium is the best to express your ideas? Axel Torvenius: I would say that some of the expressions share the same workflow. for an example i started to make “speed sculptures” inspired by the speed paints. It was really fun. I did some zombie busts in super sculpy, under a set time (like 40 min). it becomes a little bit like the same way of working as in life drawing class, you have to nail something really quick. most f my workflow starts of with very loose sketches and then goes in to some kind of build up phase. even when I take photos/photo sessions I often start with loose sketches of how I want the model to pose or which elements should be in the image. People often called the INSIDE artzine as to negative, art should be raised positive aspects, should delight the beholder. What do you tell somebody who calls your art to negative? Whats your definition of beauty? Do you think there is beauty in ugliness?!
Axel Torvenius: I think people should focus less on good/bad, ugly/beautiful. to me, the important thing is the essence and the mood. The feeling you get out of something. I’ve seen/felt many examples of beautiful objects/feelings/images that at the same time have left me with a negative effect, and vice versa. Often you can find beauty in decay or in the forms and shapes that is not in a common way is regarded “beautiful”. What is considered to be a positive aspect/impact doesnt have to be tied to something that is beautiful or uplifting. I often tend to find beauty (kind of kliche of course i know) in things that many ppl find disgusting/weird. I do for an example have a big collection of skulls, skeletons, taxidermy, dried insects etc. THAT is art to me. I like the ornamentic jugenstil-styled black and white drawings. They reminds me a little bit of Phillippe Druillet drawings. Any artists which inspires you and why? Any recommendations of current (swedish) artists?!
Axel Torvenius: Thanks again. glad to hear you like them. Those illustrations were made during a period when i was very much in to Beardsley, Alfonse Mucha and Michael Manning. I am not that familiar with Phillippe Druillet. There are a lot of talented young artist in sweden right now, especially in the concept art scene. I do however find inspiration in many varied sources. everything from literature/books, movies, taxidermy objects and music. What do think about the boundaries of art. Should everything be visualize what could be possible or thinkable?! Keywords in this case could be sexual abuse or the mohammed caricatures (what a combination;-)
Axel Torvenius: Of course this is a tricky question and sensitive subject, and very much an actual topic. I think you should always try to be kind of humble and show respect for other people and their culture/religion. However, you can on the other hand not stay away from raise your voice before someone else is just telling you to do so without reason. The fine line between insulting and cause harm to other people and their beliefs/property – and raise questions on an important matter (regardless if it s is political or religious) is always a case sensitive matter. I do still believe in the freedom of speech and i am disgusted by censorship. I always  thin it is better to raise a question and then evoke a discussion arounf the topic. If you cant defend your beliefs with words (or art) then, atleast to me, looks like a very weak belief/standing point. What’s up next for you? Any exhibition, projects, prints? Do you offer commisional work e.g. for bands, films etc.?
Axel Torvenius: For the moment I have a little pause since I just moved to my new apartment and is setting up a new studio in it. When the new studio is done I have a long list of new cool projects to be launched. Especailly some new sculptures, some illustrations series (towards the fetish/bdsm scene), some wearable things like masks etc, and a bunch of photo sessions coming up. This fall will be a blast. I am constantly looking for new exhibitions and would love to try to have smaller exhibitions abroad. I do as often as I can and get offered, cd covers for music albums, band logos or cover illustrations. The latest music related images I’ve done if for the (kick ass) EBM band Grendel. I would love to move more into the cd album/cover field if I could. Is there still hope for mankind or would it be better if somebody dispose everything in the sewer of the evolutionary failure
Axel Torvenius: haha… I think there is great hope since in all this chaos and madness there is still plenty of pleasure and beauty to be found. Just look at all the extraordinary talented ppl in the body mod scene, the fetish scene, the alternative music scene and underground movies movement. I think a chaotic environment tends to give birth to some really interesting ideas. It is often in the shadows you find the most interesting and layered expressions and the people drawn to those topics that have some really unique and interesting voices/opinions to raise!

His art appears in INSIDE artzine #15 (with other stuff) buy online
Art Gallery on


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