Filip Jensen is not interested in what most would describe as ‘perfection’. Filip understands that imperfection is alluring, distinct and beautiful. ‘Perfection’ as we know it is purely a matter of perspective and individual taste. Filip paints images that have some sort of distortion boldly expressed, and through this warping or disfigurement of his subjects, something of sublime beauty is born. This is a very interesting way of drawing people in because it plays on a trait that all humans innately already possess – just look around – every object, person, concept, theory, invention, thing, etc. that we are drawn to has a characteristic that is unique or does not fit with the norm. It is this uniqueness or imperfection that attracts us. It is our strong belief at Style.No.Chaser that artists are the ultimate teachers and we are extremely grateful to be able to receive this great lesson from Filip Jensen. Thank You!
“A great thing about the creative process itself is that while painting I don’t think, I just do and try to …”
Please tell us a little about yourself – your childhood, siblings, where you grew up, what you liked as a child, strange thoughts as a child/now, unique attributes, where you live now, etc.?
I was born in Sweden however a few years later my family moved to Italy and shortly thereafter to Gdynia, Poland where I grew up. As far as I remember I was a quiet, rather introverted child, spending most of the time drawing, reading books and comics.
Up until I was a teenager I wasn’t at all interested in visual arts. That was until I discovered Salvador Dali and Goya which made me realize that art can be much more than just still-life and landscapes which are not too interesting for a teenager. Around that time I started to draw my own comic books which I think is still somewhat visible in my style. I didn’t think of becoming a visual artist and dreamed of becoming a professional musician instead. I played in some bands and created experimental music under several different names.
At the age of 19 I started to think more seriously about my interest in drawing which resulted in years spent on developing my skills. At the same time I started painting, first using ink on paper, then watercolors and finally acrylics which I still use today.
At the age of 20 I moved back to Sweden to study product design. Currently I live in Västerås, a city located 100km west of Stockholm. Apart from painting, I work part-time as a product designer at a small design agency.
How do you describe your form of art and what tools do you primarily use?
I think of what I do simply as painting, however my work is often called a modern take on expressionism, which I assume, is caused by how distorted my paintings are compared to reality. Other -isms I’ve heard being used to describe some of my paintings are fauvism and surrealism.
I use multiple tools both the usual ones such as brushes, charcoal and palette knives but also quite unusual ones such as rulers, sheets of paper, pieces of fabric etc. The reason behind it is mostly my painting process which goes from conscious and planned to an unconscious improvisation. During the latter phase I tend to use multiple strange object to achieve the desired result.
What does your art mean to you?
I remember hearing a great quote by Tom Waits where he said, and I’m paraphrasing, “Ah, songs… there’s nothing better to do with air”. I think that applies to how I think about my art – there is simply nothing more satisfying than turning an empty surface into something completely new, completely different, even though the process can be a struggle. A great thing about the creative process itself is that while painting I don’t think, I just do and try to achieve the most satisfying result which is a great relief for an over-thinker like myself.
What is your view/opinion on art world in general these days?
I don’t think I have enough experience to judge the art world in any way, however my observations so far are much more positive than what’s being said and written.
Which artists do you look up to the most?
I am mainly interested in the artwork; the person who created it, the back story – these are not as absorbing to me. Of course if I find an artwork captivating, I try to find as many works by the artist who created it as possible; in many cases however, only one or two pieces by the artist are interesting to me. There are on the other hand some exceptions such as Frank Auerbach, Michael Haneke or Berlinde de Bruyckere to name just a few, whose work in general is of much bigger importance to me.
Your images have a certain deformity to them that really inhabits one’s psyche, how did you create this unique style and why are you pulled to create images of this manner?
I think the main reason behind developing such style is the fact that I never find anatomically correct paintings interesting. There has to be something “off” about a painting to drag my attention. Similarly with music – what catches my attention the most is dissonance rather than harmony.
What is the worst critique you have ever received about your work? What is the best compliment that you have received about your work?
The worst critique I can think of is when someone ignores my work. I always want people to be touched by my paintings, either in a positive or a negative way. I want them to be affected by it, to discuss it and think about it after leaving an exhibition. I would much rather have people telling me that they hate my work than just pass by without noticing it.
Do you ever experience deja vu – where are you usually transported to when it happens?
It doesn’t happen too often and when it does, it’s about places – I feel as if I’ve been somewhere before even though I’m sure I haven’t.
Since Style.No.Chaser is a men’s lifestyle magazine, what attributes/items/clothing /etc. do you think define a man?
I think it doesn’t matter what you wear, but rather how you wear it. Regardless of gender we tend to focus on what we don’t like about ourselves which is visible in our body language and our attitude. As long as we feel good being ourselves, it doesn’t matter what we wear, what hairstyle we have etc.
What is your personal life philosophy?
Live as you please as long as you don’t hurt others on your way. Always challenge yourself and try to be as good at what you do as you possibly can.
What is your favorite color and why?
Black – the strongest and most universal of them all.
Who dead or alive, celebrity or not, artist or not, would you like to go on a two week road trip with and why?
What type of music do you listen to (if at all) when working?
I have some music playing in the background most of the time, whether I’m painting or not. My taste in music is rather eclectic so I tend to listen to different artists and genres one after another. I can start a day listening to Aphex Twin, follow it up with Marilyn Manson and end the day with Shostakovich.
How can people learn more about (or buy) your current and upcoming works?
As soon as I have something to show, it’s on my Instagram account (@fdjensen). For those interested in owning an original painting, I recommend my profile on Saatchi Art (saatchiart.com/FDJensen).
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