Alice Herbst

Small talk

Alice Herbst

Living in a world of colour. Artist ALICE HERBST is spending time in her childhood dream.

Alice Herbst

“I am an oil painter living and working on the island Lidingö outside Stockholm, with my partner and fellow artist Chris Högman. I grew up all over the place, mostly outside Stockholm in different suburbs and also seven years in a smaller town on the countryside. My interests as a kid involved all sorts of creativity so my kindergarten teachers predicted that I was going to become an artist – so I guess it must have been very clear. In my teenage years I thought of a successful career as a painter as something unachievable, as most people do, but in the end I decided to take the risk. When people said ‘But there are only a few that can succeed as artists.’ I decided that I am going to be one of them. My urge to be in the studio and paint is so strong that I just need to make it work.”

What define you as an artist?

“My paintings are beginning of stories which I build up in my head and I use a lot of playfulness in my work. I strive for my work to be as fun to create as it was when I was painting as a little kid.”

When did you start to paint?

“There are two answers for this question! I have painted almost my whole life since expressing my creativity have been a part of my personality. Practice painting to become a professional artist started when I was 20 years old and applied for a preparational art school – so almost six years now.”

What does art mean to you?

“Art can be both therapeutic, deadly serious, beautiful and playful. For me it is all of those things!”

Can you live on your art?

“I am a full time artist. It does not mean that I can be painting in my studio all day every day though! There are many different tasks that are included in my job, and many of them are very exciting like travelling to plan for projects or give lectures. So far I have actively chosen to not have a gallerist, so what also is included in my job is to meet collectors, market my work and take care of the administrational part.”

Whats trending in the art scene?

”I think of the landscape of art generalized in two big groups – the traditional artscene and the one that thrives online. Those are very different in terms of trends – even though they are starting to merge. Traditionally, art have been more controlled by the institutions and the market which makes the development a little bit slower. The story behind the artwork is often more important than the art itself. Online the aesthetic choices and techniques used is more important, due to the vast amount of images that are competing to get your attention. Figurative art is making itself back to popularity after many years of being outdated and there has been an explosion of unique figurative art.”

How do you feel about it?

”I am very excited to be living at this time in the world. There are more options than ever for an artist to pursue a career and the result is that the public opinion matters even more – which obviously can be both good and bad. As long as one decides to make the art that is truthful for themselves it is a good direction.

What are the difficulties with being an artist?

“I have experienced some negative things but it is impossible not to. There can be people that tell you very rude things but it would be the case whichever work I decided to have. It is important to practice self confidence and independence but it is a big plus to have a wonderful partner (or friend) that knows what you struggle with and can be by your side when bad stuff happens.”

What makes you happy?

“Keeping a routine, getting enough sleep, exciting projects, family and friends.” 

What is your source of inspiration?

“Both artists from today and artists who have passed. Adrian Ghenie, Daniel Pítin, Jenny Saville. Paul Gauguin and Picasso. That is naming a few – I mostly find inspiration in everything, even the things that I don’t like that much. And then there is everyday life, experiences and my mood.

In five years, where are you in your career?

“I am of course still working as an artist. I am living together with my partner Chris and our pug Nemo (Which we are welcoming to our home in a month by the way. A dream I have had since a kid and now becomes reality.) Five years… I probably have at least one child as well! Working wise I hope to still discover new techniques, be part of many exciting projects and still be as determined as I am today. But as I mentioned – I do not want to overthink my future and I am actually very pleased with were I am at the moment.”

Do you have a life philosophy?

“No, but I live and practice by being sensible and open minded in every new situation. I try to focus on the positivity around me.”

What to you fear? 

“I am working every day on relaxing and thinking about now and less about tomorrow. I am getting quite good at it, but I have worse days. My biggest fear at the moment is to lose my routine and the control that I have over my future.”

Where is your happy place?

“My home/studio, thankfully!” ☮

Alice Herbst
Alice Herbst
Published September 4, 2020