For this article in the international artist series, we turn to Norway, featuring six artists who create fantastic work, from stunning watercolor paintings to sculptures and more! I asked each artist how their country and culture inspired their work, and they delivered fantastic answers. Enjoy!
Kateryna is a watercolor artist based in Oslo, Norway. Her work features delightful watercolor paintings bursting with tasty visuals and vibrant colors. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
The best thing about Norway is the people's mindset. People here just seem to be happy all the time. Everybody is friendly, open to communication and ready to help at any time!
I also love the nature of course. I mainly work as a commercial illustrator and sometimes all this beauty around me can be a distraction. You can find picturesque mountains, waterfalls, and stunning fjords that will just take your breath away.
Floral Illustrations for Royal Insignia
I mainly work with watercolors and this kind of medium is not that popular here. I think Norwegians have achieved perfection in minimalist design but I was born in the Ukraine where watercolor is the first thing you learn in an art school. I still even use a lot of techniques from our East-European watercolor school. But I can also say that another set of the skills I’ve developed is from American watercolor artists, thanks to online classes.
Watercolor Drinks and Deserts
Watercolor Drinks and Deserts
The art community here is so awesome! A lot of things are going on here. People meet in galleries, studios, and even bars where they all like to share.
Here you’ll find a lot of free lectures about modern art and the history of the arts. Actually, the word "art" here has much more meaning than in some other countries. Norway's freedom is one of the most important themes in society and that’s why artists can express themselves in any possible way. From what I’ve seen so far, there's a lot of support and appreciation because the most precious thing here is the process of expressing yourself.
Kim is an artist and motion designer based in Oslo, Norway. His work features brilliant motion graphics with impressive concepts and clever visuals. Check out a small selection of his work below, or see more in his portfolio.
Lyskultur - Ident
I’d like to share my top 10 list of things I love about living in Norway:
1. Nature and scenery.
2. People being friendly and helpful.
5. Understanding and acceptance of art.
6. The feeling of being local and together.
7. Openness to other cultures.
8. Good coffee.
9. Weather contrasts.
10. Creative culture.
Isac Elliot: Save A Girl Tour - Live Visuals
I’m probably more influenced by the culture and region than I think. I grew up in the countryside in eastern Norway with my mom, and I’ve always been fascinated and attracted to nature and being outside exploring new parts of the town or forest. In contrast, my dad lived in central Oslo, so I was lucky to grow up experiencing both the remote countryside and the urban city life at an early age.
I grew up with hard working parents and grandparents who early on taught me the importance of hard work as well as being dedicated to your art. I’ve developed a deep relationship with nature and in my personal work I always try to convey a feeling of presence, exploration and fascination for these aspects of it. The small moments—as cheesy as that sounds.
Archillect - Initiate
I can only speak for the graphic design and motion graphics industry but the community is definitely strong and full of dedicated and talented people. The armies of young students marching into our industry are inspiring and make everyone shape up and strive to find better ideas and get better at our craft. We have several organizations here like Grafill and DogA who work specifically to unite and empower creative artists.
Sunny is an illustrator from Bergen, Norway. Her work features breathtaking watercolor paintings with remarkable details. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
I love Norway for its natural beauty. It's also a very good country to live in. There is so much freedom here and it's a peaceful country. I have had a very good life here. But most of all, I just love the nature, as we have so much of it!
I like to paint Norwegian animals and landscapes. The old mythology here pops up in my paintings too, along with other old Norwegian mythical creatures like trolls, wood nymphs, and sea serpents. There are many exciting fairy tales that have been created and are still being told here in Norway.
I don't really know the art community here yet. I've mostly been doing my art and sharing it online on international websites like DeviantArt and Facebook. I have found out that it's hard to get up and be forward. Being an artist here can be tough.
Allan is an illustrator and designer from Trondheim, Norway. His work features epic digital illustrations of skulls and crazy creatures. Check out a small selection of his work below, or see more in his portfolio.
I really love the nature and seasons here, although I wish winter could be a little bit shorter sometimes. I love living close to both the mountains and the ocean. Norway also feels a bit tucked away from the drama of the world, which I like. It's safe and small, and always nice to come back to after having traveled to other countries.
What got me into drawing to begin with was the local comic book culture, which was pretty big growing up. A big early influence was Norwegian comic books like "Pyton." I also try to include a lot of deadpan humor into my work which is pretty Norwegian.
Winter is Coming
I'm pretty fresh out of the gate, so I'm not really that integrated yet, but the art community seems very good. There are many art organizations and groups and tons of opportunities for new artists, although it seems most vibrant down in Oslo. But yeah, there's so many talented designers and illustrators around, even though it's such a small country. Kind of daunting, actually.
Alyona is an illustrator based in Oslo, Norway. Her work features exciting nature illustrations with lovely themes. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
What I love about living in Oslo is the rhythm of the city, and the balance of nature and modern city life. The moment you leave the city, you are surrounded by the raw, wild beauty of nature.
I love the joy on people's faces when summer comes along, and I also love the long dark winter days with warm cocoa in hand. We appreciate simple pleasures in Norway and I think it is inspiring.
Seashell Study Illustration
The beauty of this country's nature is breathtaking. When you are in a car driving on a narrow mountain road, there is not a single soul around, and you feel like a guest. The fog comes down from the mountain peaks and gently covers the road, so you can't see a thing. Moments later it vanishes, opening the spectacular views of the fjord right in front of you. This is the largest source of energy and inspiration for me.
Locals in Color
The Oslo art scene is very different from other cities. From my experience, art communities here have an exciting growth ahead of them. More and more creative groups are gathering for events and workshops. The young art scene is influenced by foreign creatives too, who bring a lot of new concepts and activities to Norway.
Vanessa is an artist based in Bergen, Norway. Her work features vibrant sculptural and illustrative designs with unique geometric elements. Check out a small selection of her work below, or see more in her portfolio.
Rotate, Rotate, Reflect and Pout
While Norway won the happiest nation in the world, Bergen also allows me to focus better with fewer distractions in terms of trends and parties.
Geometric Boobs 3.0
Coming from a multilingual background (Chinese-Australian, Japan-freak), my work has a lot of noise, both in style and thought. Berlin was my first stop in Europe back in 2010. Norwegians are good at fixing things by themselves, so I was half-forced to get my hands dirty, from sculpting to casting onto leather and crafting.
Not So Black n White
If one makes stuff, it’s inevitable to be anonymous in Bergen (for its size). But the community is rather supportive here. I am thankful for the opportunities given to me in both art and design in the past six years,
Many thanks to the artists who took time to answer my questions and share a bit about themselves and how their country and/or culture has affected their work. You can check out more of their work in the links below: