Artist of the Month : Kirsten Opstad

May 3, 2021

Kirsten Opstad (1978) has been a member of Tegnerforbundet since 2019. She is a graduate of the Norwegian Academy of Fine Arts and Aschehoug's author school. Opstad works with drawing, painting, sculpture and text. The artistry is characterized by a presence and a presence in the images where the artist seems completely engrossed in a moment. It is an interplay between words and images where Opstad depicts both the small and big moments in life, often the fleeting moments that shape life itself. Opstads verk i Tegnerforbundet is a story about growth, new life and spring.

The artist lives and works from Oslo. More information about Kirsten Opstad here .

TF: Kirsten, can you tell us a little about your artistic work?  

KO: I work across genres, in dialogue with the rooms I am in. At the academy, I visited most workshops and professors. In recent years he has worked mostly with painting and drawing. Exploratory urge. Curiosity. Job satisfaction. In the studio there is a kind of free moment from the chaos of the world.

“When you where a student, you were a promise. Now, you a proof ”, said Andreas Schlaegel when he visited my studio. The room was filled with drawing, painting and objects. There is something about the tracks, the time you have invested, the years you have insisted. The art of retaining vulnerability, playfulness and joy. I have worked as a visual artist for 22 years. A hunt. A longing. A profession, a life, a vocation.

‍ TF: How do you use drawing in your work? Tell us a little about your work process!

KO: I rarely plan what to draw. Often the surroundings move into the two-dimensional surface. In drawing, a new room arises. A respite. A concentration. The thoughts concretize and become material. Something tangible. Something that is less perishable than the moment, the day, the life. A track.  

A memory of who you are. Present preterite.  

Before, I drew on copy paper. I did not want the paper to expect anything. Now I am embarking on beautiful and expensive paper. Lightweight markers, watercolor and pencil. Sometimes the paper evokes an expectation, an embarrassing greed for achieving a result. Then I do exercises, to keep the playfulness. Blind drawings. I draw music, sound, light. I have to endure failure before I can make a drawing. Then I dare, indulge, and accept what comes. Drawing is a way of being present, of listening, of seeing. To be a tool, in the encounter with paper and drawing tools. Coincidences and technique. Emotions and intuition.  

The hand. The right one that has the best control, and left-hand drawings. Movements. Appropriations. Tempo. Strength. Boldness. To draw is to indulge in the moment. The drawing has its inner logic. Some days everything falls into place, other days there is resistance. But always a dialogue.

TF: What inspires you? Do you work from a theme?

KO: I love looking at drawings. I browse a lot in books and go to exhibitions. I do not always understand why a drawing hits something in me, but there is something close and immediate with drawing. Andrew Wyeth, Kathe Kollwitz, Emanuel Vigeland, Van Gogh, Kaj Johanson… There are so many nuances and nerves.  

In drawing, I often get "dilla" on something. I have just created a number of erotic works inspired by Hokusai's vague drawings. In this series, I tried to mix in a bit of western shyness, and still make the interaction tremble.

TF: What are you currently working on?

KO: Make the drawing breathe. Makes the light vibrate.

Lately I have been using an audiobook as an entrance to new rooms and moods. While listening, I try to capture tension. I'm inspired by film. When I'm tired of my own skull I can visit another, then I draw while watching a movie.  

There is something about drawing and time. The paper fills with time, at the same time as time runs out.  

‍ TF: What does drawing mean for you / your work?

KO: "I draw, so I am." I'm one of those people who has to draw. Such people need to shower or brush their teeth. It's a cleansing. Good for the soul.

TF: Tell us a little about your work in Tegnerforbundet's sales department!

KO: When I was invited to be Artist of the Month I was drawing the plants on the windowsill. They stand there, depending on water and nutrition. Everyday rhythms and routines, fragility and steadfastness. The plants that extend to the light. The will is there. Like a plant, I stand and look out the window, at the outside world.  


See available drawings by Kirsten Opstad in our online store.