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Interview: Ethereal Marbled Paintings Express the Inner Light Inside All of Us

Through gorgeous, ethereal paintings, artist Emma Lindstrm creates a tangible representation of a feeling. To her, this feeling is floating and irrational, but always uplifting and full of hope–one that can be experienced, but never formed into a thought. The conceptual basis for Lindstrm's artwork lends itself to the sprawling, abstract compositions that she painstakingly labors over. Here, deep blues, light pinks, emerald greens, and other vibrant pigments converge into visual splendor, reminiscent of the rising sun over the sea.

Lindstrm makes a conscious choice to explore the hopeful side of life, rather than mirroring what seems to be wrong in the world. “I try to let my work contrast and offer an alternative to the dark and hard aspects of society, rather than commenting on them explicitly,” she explains in her artist statement. But above all, Lindstrm wants to evoke emotions through her painting–hopefully this speaks to your inner self, but as long you feel something, her goal has been achieved.

We spoke to Swedish artist about her work and practice. Check our interview, below.

What first inspired you to start painting? What inspires you now?

I was, and still very much am, in need of an outlet for my emotions, and a peaceful zone where I can rest my mind for a while. I found this when I first started painting, and now I really can't see my life without it. My work continues to move me in directions I could never before imagine, both physically, emotionally and spiritually, which is why the creative process itself is my main inspiration and drive. Of course seeing and hearing other amazing artist's work can also be enormously inspiring and give light to new ideas, and at the same time encouragement to keep going on my path.

What do you hope the viewer feels when they see your work?

I wish the viewer gets a glimpse into the state I'm in when I paint; a moment of rest and stillness, a heart-expanding and mind-soothing experience. And hopefully a moment of beauty.

What is your studio practice like? How much of your work is planned and how much is left to experimentation and spontaneity?

I paint (almost) every day, even days when I'm really not in the mood to begin with. I've learned that at the end of the day, I'm always happier and more at peace when I've painted than when I've not. So I'm pretty strict and planned in that way. But when it comes to the actual creative process, I am, as I said before, balancing between clear ideas and visions on the one hand, and experimentation and spontaneity on the other. After all, what fun would it be if I knew exactly what I would be doing each time I started a new piece…

How do you achieve the marbled effect in your paintings?

It's taken years of practice and experimenting with different techniques and colors, to get to where I am today. It's about balancing control and chance, and as with life in general, to find the right flow and just go with it.

You write that your paintings explore “the ever-present light and hope in all of us.” Do you think this optimistic concept has affected your own life? If so, how?

The optimistic concept you mention, is more of a focus for me; a conscious choice of how and what I want to experience in life. And I think it is this shift in focus that is needed in our world, from all the negatives to all the beauty. Because there is beauty, an abundance of it. I believe this focus is what has kept, and still keeps, me going.

Emma Lindstrm: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Emma Lindstrm. 

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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