AT A GLACE
Camilla Näsholm makes bold, colorful, and unapologetic abstract paintings that exist in the intersection of fine art, semiotics, and street art. Her style is an expression of her upbringing in the rugged north, the accumulation of multicultural experiences she has gained from her years of travel, and her artistic training as a painter and designer. The overarching goal of Camilla's paintings is to disrupt mind-driven logical thinking and lure the viewer into experiencing a direct connection with their gut-driven instinctual intellect. In the daytime, she works as a digital product designer; at night and on weekends, she paints.
A central concept in Camilla's art practice is the Swedish expression "Fulsnygg" which translates to "ugly-handsome," a more common term in English might be Jolie laide or cugly(cute+ugly). Through the interplay of colors, textures, and shapes, she explores how to combine the two opposing concepts of ugliness and beauty to infuse the painting with powerful tensions and an eye-catching edge that charges the image with energy to draw the viewer in and transfers it's strength to them. Through her art, she hopes to remind people of the inexhaustible power we all have within.
When Camilla paints, she is having a conversation with her intuition and instinct. She describes it as an ongoing attempt to relax her limited rational thinking and respond to and trust in her instinct and gut feeling. A practice of not interfering with intellectual activity or commentary on what her intuitive impulses tell her. She believes there is a transcendent intelligence that is not the product or outcome of thought and conceptual understanding. She seeks direct contact with this intelligence throughout her art practice by moving beyond the mind and her accumulation of knowledge.
Camilla grew up in a working-class town called Lycksele in the remote subarctic region of northern Sweden. She was far away from any fine-art institutions, and art was generally considered an impossible path to pursue. Nevertheless, she started drawing and painting passionately around the age of 12. As a teenager, she became heavily influenced by street art and surrealism and started painting large-scale acrylics around 16. Since then, she has never stopped making art. Camilla spent most of her 20s seeking novelty by traveling around the global south and living abroad. Eventually, she returned to Sweden to get a BFA and MFA in design. During her studies, she became influenced and inspired by abstract and minimal forms of art and design. She switched to digital painting and digital art making for about seven years but has now returned to acrylics, spray cans, and other physical media.
Over the years, Camilla tried to "grow out of" making art; she questioned the purpose of spending so much time and resources on something that, according to her upbringing, was of "no value." She soon realized that making art was not a choice for her; it was something she must do to stay healthy and purposeful in her life.
Camilla has a neurological deviation that heavily influences her art called Synesthesia. With Synesthesia, information that is meant to stimulate one of your senses instead stimulates several of your senses. It's natural to, for example, "hear" colors and "see" sounds or that movements, numbers, or words have distinct colors and textures. After more than a decade of making surreal figurative art, she has now turned to abstract art because it feels more true to how she experiences her own reality made from layers of cross-pollinated sensory input.
WHAT DO THEY MEAN
Each piece represents something personal to Camilla, but she wants her viewers to build their own stories around her paintings. She believes that if we let abstractions unfold in our guts, we open an experiential portal to deeply personal meanings that evolve and change over time as we live with the painting. This unfolding of stories is a window to our inner landscape, and she hopes her abstract paintings will curate fruitful introspective moments.
With her work, Camilla hopes to enable an experience of beauty in the viewer. Beauty, not on a visually aesthetic level, but on an intrinsical level. She believes that to experience beauty is to encounter a hole in space-time where love pours in and a direct contact with the perfection we are encapsulated in and consist of. Camilla views painting as a collaborative process where she, as an artist, only controls one variable: the painting, while the web of life controls the other variable: the viewer.