Artist of the Month : Susanna Kajermo

Jun 2, 2020

Susanna Kajermo (1978) works as a visual artist and illustrator, and has been a member of Tegnerforbundet since 2008. Kajermo's realistic pencil drawings have been made with precision and finesse. She uses colored pencil and watercolor to highlight certain elements in the pictures. In many works one finds references to other eras such as the Middle Ages or the Renaissance, which are mixed with everyday situations from our time. Her pictorial world shows surreal, dreamlike scenarios, often with an ominous, and even threatening atmosphere. One wonders which stories hide behind the motifs, which invite the viewer's imagination to live deeper into the drawings, and to find their completely personal stories in the works. Susanne Kajermo lives and works in Bergen. More information about Susanna Kajermo here .

TF: Can you tell us a little about your artistic work?

SK: I want to make stories, but words are difficult. They miss me. When I write, it is as if the distance between what I write and what I want to say only increases. I feel it is happening now as I try to answer these questions as well. That's why I draw. It's like writing without words. I've been drawing for as long as I can remember.

My works mainly consist of pencil drawings and collages in various formats, from below A4 to just over 1.5x1.5 m. The motifs often show situations out of the ordinary, which can be seen as a complex mixture of reality and dream, and which contain both deep seriousness and humor.

Mostly I work with my own things, but I have also done some illustration work. It's exciting to try something different sometimes, and I hope it's something I can develop and learn more from.


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

SK: I work continuously with my works, quite independent of exhibitions and other forms of performance. I see my art as a holistic project under constant development. The themes I work with do not suddenly change direction, but rather slide in and out of each other and echoes from previous works tend to come back.


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

SK: Life, memories, animals, a sudden thought, nature, ambiguities, literature, film, photography, older art (eg from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance), sometimes newer art, illustration and more. Should I mention some artists I like, I would like to highlight Louise Bourgeois and Hugo Simberg. But of course there are more.

I'm almost like a kleptomaniac in my work. Feel free to find a photograph that speaks to me, attach me to a motif in art history, or like the expression of the animal on an old anatomical map. I borrow, put together and distort.

Inspiration from poetry and the literary has always been important to me, and essential in my art. Fiction is a way of approaching and describing reality, and fairy tales are a grateful instrument for telling about complicated human actions and relationships.


TF: What are you currently working on?

SK: Nothing specific really. I just finished a small illustration job. Hopefully I will exhibit at Galleri Langegården in December, after the exhibition that should have been now in April / May was postponed. So I work on what I feel I want. It is nice! Maybe it will be something that comes with the exhibition, maybe it will be something else. Otherwise, I look forward to visiting a friend this summer and trying to work a little with ceramics.


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

SK: Drawing is a form of necessity or liberation for me, so it means a lot. I have periods when I do not draw, maybe because I have to do other things or because I lack motivation, but then a longing builds up and a feeling of meaninglessness that does not disappear until I start drawing again. I like the meditative state I can be in when I become one with what I draw.


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

SK: In the drawing Hands and paws , I think that it is my hands and that it is Kurt's paws that are on the canvas. Kurt was a much loved dog and a part of my life from when I was 4 to 18 years old. He was extremely uneducated, a wolf-like mixed breed, and the kindest in the world. But when he met another male dog, he was transformed into a fighter ready to fight to the last drop of blood. The latter could be quite strenuous! But this is nothing that is important to know when one sees the drawing. It can simply show a relationship between a human and an animal.

They threw snow balls into the fire is one of the illustrations I made for the book The Iron Age, written by my aunt Arja Kajermo. The drawing shows two boys throwing snowballs at a burning house. The boys are my father and one of his brothers. Making the illustrations for The Iron Age was a nice project that made me feel closer to my aunt, but also my father, who is one of the characters in the book. My father took his own life, and that has made it difficult for me to stop thinking about him. Reading my aunt's story and making the pictures for it became a processing of my own thoughts and feelings.

See available works by Susanne Kajermo in the online store .