Afternoon Tea: Artist Interview with Maria Lund

Born and educated in Sweden, Maria Luna is a mixed-media artist living one of her three childhood dreams; becoming a doctor and owning a candy store are yet to be realised. Lund has exhibited at several galleries throughout Sweden and received corporate commissions from Västra Götalandsregionen, Riksbyggen, Töreboda Kommun, ICA, Länsstyrelsens Konstförening and Mariestad Konstförening, to name just a few. At the time of this interview, she was preparing for her latest exhibition in Stockholm.

Artists, Interviews
November 14, 2013
by Cecily Ferguson
Maria Lund, Untitled

Maria Lund, Untitled

MM: Can you explain some of the things that inspire your work?

ML: I try to visit as many exhibitions as possible. And though there is no particular artist, material or technique, I often find small details or parts in an artist’s work that inspire me. I don´t want it to sound like a cliché, but running (and working out in general) does wonders for my creativity. But I easily get new impressions, and seeing something or someone sometimes is enough, as well as listening to music. Also, visiting London is a huge inspiration.

MM: London… that is interesting because my first interaction with your work was with the series ‘I’m On Top of the World’ featuring the English Bulldog. Can you tell me a bit about the series?

ML: I am so fascinated by the philosophy of yoga, and there is a mantra in sanskrit: “Lokah samasta sukhino bhavantu,” meaning: may all beings everywhere be happy and free and may the thoughts, words and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all. That was the basis for my series with my sister’s absolutely charming, wonderful English bulldog Douglas. I made drawings of him in charcoal, and used them for screen printing/painting on fabric. He sometimes looks heartbroken, but he´s happy deep inside – even if it doesn’t always show on the outside.

In regards to the textiles I mainly use ‘happy’, colorful fabrics. Vintage fabrics are used to contrast the prints when Douglas appears to have the most heartbreaking looks. I use only hand printed fabrics with my self-designed patterns. And recently I’ve printed some fabrics by hand, so perhaps in the near future I can use them in this series.

MM: It’s incredible that yoga and Douglas have inspired such a great series! How has it been received by the public? Will you create more?

ML: The response from the public has been positive and the series has aroused curiosity. I will definitely create more.

MM: It seems there are several methods that you apply in your creative process… it is possible to describe your overall technique?

ML: I use a lot of techniques, and my creating process is driven by a constant search. I love experimenting and would be so restless if I worked with just one single technique or artistic expression. I work primarily with oils and acrylics combined with photography, drawing etc. The photo/painting works started about two years ago. I use my own photos in all my artwork, and I’ve understood that that’s quite a rare thing to do.

MM: Are there any new techniques that you want to explore?

ML: There are so many techniques that I would like to explore, for example ceramics and sculpture.

MM: I am particularly intrigued by your paintings that include city scenes and text. Can you tell me more about your visual dialogue with these works?

ML: I think it’s kind of difficult to explain. I want to convey a sense – not telling too much or make it all too obvious to the viewer. I’ve loved writing since I was little, and sometimes it just pops up in my head while I´m working with my art. With the city scenes I want to connect to a feeling. And I use many features from alpha cities like London to elements from desolate houses in the middle of nowhere.

MM: Are they inspired by and reflect London? What interests you most about that city?

ML: Yes! I absolutely love that city, and I try to go there at least once a year. The buildings, architecture, the ancient and the modern; the busy city life and the calm green parks. London’s got it all!

MM: As a new expat living in Sweden I felt a connection to “Den Femte Årstiden.” Can you explain this piece a bit?

ML: This is the first artwork in a series of paintings with the same title. But as long as I can remember, it has attracted a melancholy in me. So for me, it´s like a feeling of the untold, a sense of emptiness and desolation…What comes after? That question, I think, can relate to so many different things – both in a very personal way as well as a social manner.

MM: You are currently setting up a show in Stockholm, what will you exhibit? Are you working on anything new?

ML: I will mainly show my photo collage/paintings and perhaps some digital art prints, and if there’s room (the gallery is really small and situated in Old Town) also a few of my graphic design prints- mostly for kids- that I started designing this summer. I also became an aunt to a beautiful, funny and adorable little baby boy last summer, and he’s the inspiration behind the cute, chubby figures in my graphic design prints – totally different from what I ‘normally’ do.