Artist of the Month is a monthly interview series where Tegnerforbundet introduces a member who is represented in our Sales Department. With this initiative, we want to give readers an insight into the members' artistic work and highlight the importance of drawing in their work.
Eirik Lyster (1985) is an artist whose main focus is drawing, but he also explores painting, sculpture and performance as forms of artistic expression. Lyster's work explores identity, occultism, nature, sexuality and death, as well as a personal iconography. These central themes provide the viewer with a challenging experience, where the boundaries between dream and reality are often blurred. He works with the sweet and the lifelike, while mixing the bizarre and the grotesque. Lyster often distorts reality with fantasy. The dynamics of the drawing arise from this play with contrasts. The colors and lines are a significant characteristic of Lyster's work, and they clearly become key visual elements in his drawings.
Lyster's art has been shown at the Autumn Exhibition in 2022, the National Museum's exhibition space Mellomstasjonen in 2018, the Historical Museum in 2017 and the Astrup Fearnley Museum in 2013. Eirik Lyster has been a member of Tegnerforbundet since 2017. He lives and works in Oslo.
TF: Eirik, can you tell us a bit about your artistic work?
EL: I work mainly with drawing, but also use painting, sculpture and performance as a medium, creating new mythologies in my own dreamlike landscapes. I want to depict the intersection between the spiritual and reality. The transition between the dramatic and the beautiful is something that has always inspired me, how death and corruption are simultaneously surrounded by the beauty of nature. Like, for example, looking at the bruises on animal carcasses. How blood slides over to fur, skin, bones and forms a kind of washed-out rainbow on the body where there is exsanguination.
TF:Why do you draw? Tell us a bit about your work process!
EL: I have a fire in me and a burning desire to put out new artwork to the world, something that I haven't even found in myself yet until the moment I have created the drawing and it exists in physical format. I am always working to move forward and enter new doors in my artistry while also taking with me what I see as unique in my expression. The older I get, the more common it is for me that a drawing has taken several years to complete. "Nattetegning", which I exhibited at the Autumn Exhibition last year, is a good example of this and is a drawing that took me 10 years to complete. Not because of the size of the work, but because I had to go into certain parts of my brain and create a few other works of art along the way before I could see how the drawing would finally look and, not least, be executed. Drawings come to me very clearly in the form of images before I start working and it has always felt like an instinct. I was born with a phenomenon called synesthesia where my senses are mixed, which means that visualization comes easily to me and it's not something I can turn off. In short, synaesthesia is sensory experience in several sensory areas at the same time when only one of them is physically affected and can be seen as a form of "metaphorical" experience. For example, I see numbers, letters, days, names and months in color and I also see images and colors that are projected transparently but clearly into the space in front of me. A kind of filter between my eyes and reality. This is also where my drawings come to me. I have a clear memory from when I was little that I loved lying in the dark before going to sleep and watching figures and animals fly past me. It was only when I got older that I realized that this is not normal at all and that I could see colors and images where not everyone else could. I'll never forget the confused look on the face of the person I would try to talk about this with for the first time when I was in elementary school as if it was the most common thing ever to talk about. There are several people over the years who have asked if I take any drugs when they see my work, but I've never created a single piece of art while intoxicated and I'm actually a teetotaler. Drawings can also come to me in dreams and then I get up and sketch them down before I go back to sleep. It's wonderful and magical to be inspired and capture a new piece of art, but it's hard work and discipline that moves a piece of art forward. I have a hyper visual mindset and I take my creativity very seriously.
TF: What themes concern you as an artist?
EL: Death, nature, identity, occultism, sexuality and personal iconography are central themes in my work.
TF: What is the role of drawing today?
EL: I think drawing has quite an important role today because we live in a fast-paced world where a lot of the visual can be done through technology and at the touch of a button. Working with drawing makes us stop and do work where there is no shortcut to achieve the result you want. I also believe that through drawing we are in touch with something primordially human within us. For example, drawing and visual expressions have always existed in connection with human storytelling, documenting time, in magic and various rituals throughout the ages to conjure up and manifest something greater than man himself.
TF: What does drawing mean to you in your work?
EL: Everything. When I work with drawing I go to a deep place inside myself that I've always been able to go to and it's as if time and the outside world doesn't exist. One of the magical things about drawing is that the most hurtful and darkest moments of my life can come out in the most beautiful way I know of, which is art. Tears turn into diamonds. Drawing and daydreaming have been quite important and functional for me during darker periods in my life when I have turned inwards to creativity and my soul life when I have not wanted to exist in the world that was in front of me. Without being able to express myself through drawing I don't know what my life would look like and that's how my life makes sense, but also in many ways death. I like the idea that one day I will only exist in this dimension through something I have created and I find it interesting to create something that will live beyond my human existence.
TF: Tell us a little about your work in Tegnerforbundet's sales department!
EL: Working with a work of art is a very introverted process and then analyzing a work of art down to the smallest detail is like putting words to something that shouldn't really be described in words. It also feels like trying to interpret a dream or a nightmare because it has just as many layers, is nuanced, fragmented, metaphorical and poetic. When I show a work to an audience, I'm aware that it's not just for me anymore, and I want the audience to have their own magical experience in their encounter with my art without too much information from me.