Finnish born artist Mic Linder now lives in Sweden. He chats about his life and the thoughts that shape his work as well as allowing us a tour of his studio…
Hi Mic, and welcome to Om Pom Happy. Finland is such a fascinating country…
Hey Cand, thank’s for having me! Yeah, I grew up in a small coastal town called Vaasa. The whole thing burned down in the 1800’s so they rebuilt it again a couple of miles away, straight streets in an immaculate grid system with broad avenues so it wouldn’t burn down again haha. It’s probably one of the least organically evolved cities outside China. Nowadays I live with my girlfriend Caroline Eriksson in Gothenburg, Sweden. We met in art school a couple of years back… I kept painting while she went on to study design so I’m spending my days doing deliberately ugly paintings while she spends hers doing deliberately puposeless furniture. The future is looking bright haha!
Above: SELF PORTRAIT AS A BALLOON SALESMAN
Tell me about one of your recent works titled I’M BUILDING MYSELF A HOUSE (below)…
That piece was me acknowledging what I’m doing… The house is my art, and I hope I’ll have time to keep building on it, adding rooms, fixing leaks and shit. I like the house as a metaphor because from the outside a house looks coherent, orderly and uniform, but on the inside we have this human every day life… unwashed dishes… petty arguments… and in between the rooms rats scavenge what they can find and roaches shed their shell because they’re going to be butterflies now, finally free.
Woah, that’s a great analogy. I’m now intrigued to hear your thoughts behind BACKDROP FOR A NON-THEISTIC CHURCH (below)…
Well… I went to a friend’s wedding and it was a traditional church ceremony and I started thinking about our collective need for rituals in like these sort of rite-ofpassage situations. At most I’d describe my friend as a cultural christian, he doesn’t believe in god or anything, but he still wanted to have his wedding in a church because he felt it was the best way to have a ritual that would be… dignified, you know? Backdrop for a Non-Theistic Church is sort of a rough sketch and an attempt to formulate a new beginning without god, cause we’re a symbolic, ritualistic species. We need the dignity and the seriousness associated with rituals. The long term goal is to build a humanistic temple around the piece and to actually use it as a back drop. We’ll see. If one of your readers is building a church without any deistic or moneymaking nonsense, they’re welcome to use it for their purposes!
I love the idea of a humanist temple. What a fantastic ambition!
Can you tell us about the curiously titled BOY RAISED BY CROCODILES (below)…
When I did that piece I was thinking a lot about my upbringing and things that just happen to you and shape you into the person you are. One of my first memories is when I was 3 or 4 years old and my mom took me to the park and I was in the sand box with this kid, playing not with each other, but like next to each other, and for some reason he came right at me and bit me in the face. I was shocked, and started crying. My mom took me by the hand and we walked home.
Above: BOY RAISED BY CROCODILES
When we got home she was really angry with me and yelled at me, she thought I had acted weak and should have fought back… she told me that if someone bites me in the face, I should bite back, harder. She is the warmest possible person, intelligent and thoughtful, but she is also a pragmatist and I think that’s why she was yelling at me… because if you’re in a community of crocodiles you have to acknowledge this as a reality and teach your kids how to be a crocodile.
And that’s how it goes: society talks with our tongues due to a form of necessity. This piece is a nod to this… We are born in a body with a temperament and a heart, but we have interchangeable heads. I just think that there is a vast abyss between all the possible versions of ourselves.
Absolutely, and we’re often different versions of ourselves in different situations, for example at work and out of it. Do you have to work outside of art to pay the bills?
Above: MONOPOLY HEAD
Money is always a hassle, it’s never easy… Sometimes I sell some paintings but it’s hard to have any kind of continuity or stability so I work different jobs from time to time. Sometimes I feel like the character from Bukowski’s book Factotum… Starting some shitty job, quitting as soon as I have enough. Haha at least no one is going to accuse me of being a careerist! This summer I worked as a general handyman on a construction site, a job I really liked… good pay, physical work, no customer service bullshit, and they let me take home scrap materials for my sculptures.
Scrap materials are fantastic as they lead you into doing things you might not otherwise do. Considering this, do you plan much? Use preparatory sketches?
I draw a lot, and always have… sometimes the drawings end up as references or studies for paintings, but most of the time they’re just sort of a silent foundation for everything, from sculptures to paintings. But even when I use them as reference I try to keep the drawings open-ended so that what follows isn’t given and predictable. I break it up in some way to make it interesting and challenging and fun and exciting.
You are in the process of changing studios at the moment…
Yeah, the old one is in is this really sketchy abandoned food warehouse and is absolutely huge… my studio is in the old office, riddled with dated outlets to dated technology and it even has the kind of old school ‘tube messaging’ system you see in old movies where you put a message in a tube and it’s sucked into the void or whatever!
One of the best things is my studio neighbours… Marcus Dimbodius and Martin Molin, both multi talented musicians, but the roof is full of holes and every time it rains the corridor is flooded and some of the neighbouring rooms are riddled with mould. It’s really bad, you can almost see that green shit moving if you look close enough! So I had to get out and I found a light artsy loft just a few blocks from my apartment… And one of the best things is that I’m going to have my own woodworking studio there as well, with a band saw and a table mounted drill and everything!
Above: MIC AND CAROLINE IN THE NEW STUDIO
Change is always good for us. Fresh ideas and actions spring from it. Do you challenge yourself to other things besides painting?
I love to box! It’s great to get with the physical side, painting can be so cerebral… And I think painting needs to have that balance as well if it’s going to be interesting to me, it needs to be half brain half body. Anyways… yeah right, boxing! It’s the best sort of meditation because it forces you to focus and be present in the moment. You leave all that stress and everyday wear and tear at the door, it’s really liberating.
Above: CONVEYOR BELT
Well I wish you all the very best of luck, Mic, and also I have to thank you for introducing me to this beautiful track by El Huervo, a favourite of yours, which is fast becoming a favourite of mine. We’ll sign out with it now…
Take care, Cand, and thanks again for having me!
words: CAND JUSKUS and MIC LINDER
images: MIC LINDER