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Per-Inge IshedenPer-Inge Isheden
Du vet, han med dom där stadsbilderna som bara lyser av neonskyltar och bilstrålkastare. Starka färger. Målar ofta vatten, så där så det blänker och glittrar. Har gjort stora målningar också, med popidoler, Lennon, Jimi Hendrix. Och Marilyn Monroe. Dom är väldigt annorlunda. En kan föreställa en motorväg till exempel med bilar som kör mot solnedgången, och så ser man Marilyns ansikte mitt i alltihop. Ögonen är viadukter, munnen ett hål i marken, näsan en varningsskylt om vägarbete. Då vet du vem jag menar, va?! Målar allt möjligt annat också, men man ser direkt att det är en Isheden. Bor visst utanför Stockholm, men kommer från Dalarna, det hör man på dialekten. Avesta, tror jag, hade nåt att göra med Jularbomuséet där. Sen har han givit ut ett tecknad serie också , och spelar folkmusik. Håller visst på med allt möjligt, verkar det som...

Rykten uppfångade av

Per-Inge Isheden.


Article from the Australian magazine International Artist, June 2001:

"Per-Inge Isheden, Swedish artist born in Avesta 1937, started painting while still a child, inspired by his mother who was an amateur artist. Living in a small town far away from big cities, he had few opportunities of seeing art. Pictures in books and magazines were his main inspiration sources. A visit in his early teens to the Anders Zorn museum many miles away made a deep impact on him. Zorn’s illusionistic aquarelles were for some years his ideal. Then a teacher told him briefly about the composition technique of Paul Cézanne. He was fascinated and studied every book illustration he could find.

At the age of twenty Isheden went to Stockholm for art teacher studies. To suddenly be living in a metropol with a million people, lots of museums, cafés and restaurants was a somewhat chaotic experience to him. But he finished his studies, got a job in Stockholm, married and settled down there.

On trips to different cities in western Europe he continued studying the art of Cézanne and also of the impressionists. He got more and more fascinated by the art of Claude Monet, especially works like the cathedral paintings shown at Jeu de Paume in Paris.

After working 13 years as a school teacher he started his career as a professional artist by creating a science fiction cartoon for adults. During that work he learnt the composition technique he now uses in his paintings.

He says he chooses a few fundamental elements, from which he forms a new reality. This along with his use of quadratic canvases is a result of Isheden’s studies of cartoons such as Dick Tracy by Chester Gould. His illusionistic techniques, particulary his handling of the light, are intended to make the painting look "as real as life itself", quite contrary to the modernists, who want to make their tricks obvious.

While still living in Avesta, Isheden participated in group exhibitions. As a professional artist he has regularly showed his works at galleries and art fairs in Stockholm and other places in Sweden, during the nineties also in Berlin, Germany.

In recent years he has become increasingly well-known, especially in Stockholm where he finds so many of his motives. Critics write of "his mixture of refinement and vulgarity" and his use of elements other artists usually avoid - like cars, buses, traffic signs and blinding light effects. They also mention his use of unorthodox techniques, like dripping or splashing paint or letting it flow freely over the canvas, his unusual "bleeding" red and his use of gold paint.

He has been described as a "romantic with his feet firmly on the pavement". His preference of bad weather motives is striking. Dusk moods with a mixture of disappearing daylight and neon light effects are frequent. He also finds motives in rather chaotic places, such as the Central Station or a traffic roundabout.

Critics in Stockholm have difficulties trying to describe his art. He is not a modernist but, on the other hand, he is not a traditionalist either . So, what is he? Gallery visitors have no such problem. They come in increasing numbers to look at his paintings, and to buy them, no matter how they are described."


Interview in the brittish art site art UK

1. Can you say something about your background and how you became an artist?

When I think back to my childhood there are many things that I recall that led me into an artistic career, for example, when I was five years old seeing my mother busy in the kitchen my father asleep on the sofa, after working all night in an engineering factory and myself wondering what to do today and thinking I’ll make a cut-out drawing of a jet engine on that peace of paper from a crisp bread packet or some other creative project. Then when I was eight, we were living in the country my father was working at a repair shop miles away in town. My Mother was busy with typical countryside household duties taking care of the chickens and the family pig. But in her spare time she found time to paint beautiful pictures in oils and I was totally fascinated watching her. She was my first influence. When I was fifteen I remember one day dreamily, gazing out of the window and thinking of the power of art and making a firm decision that I too will become an artist.

2. Sweden is quite cold and gloomy for much of the year and yet your paintings appear very colourful. Do you make a conscious effort to resist the gloom?

Here in Sweden people will often complain about the weather during autumn and winter “We’d be better off living in the south of Spain at this time of the year, if only we could afford it" you’d hear folk say. But I always saw the shifting seasons as a fascinating drama, especially in the autumn, with its explosion of flaming red, orange and brown colours. I was only sad that the period was so short. Some years it seemed to last only a few days, followed by a long period of dusk and rain. Suddenly winter would arrive with falling snow, a blanket of silence and almost no colour at all, just whiteness everywhere. Then the beginning of spring with its blinding light, and finally the long awaited summer with green, green, green and blue glittering waters and a never setting sun.

My use of bright colours is frequently commented on. A typically Swedish reaction is perhaps that of a young man at one of my exhibitions who challenged me with "why do you use such bright colours in your paintings" as if to say, "Is that really according to traditional values and good manners?"

Others love my use of bright colours and say they are uplifted when they see my vibrant paintings!

When I once explained my preference for bright colours to an exhibition visitor he earnestly looked me in the eyes and said: "You are not a Swede, you must be South American! I would know, I come from Colombia".

And when a Cuban artist came to one of my shows and with great interest started to comment on my works I was struck by how well he could “read” them.

3. What is it that inspires you to create your art?

To create art is an everyday necessity for me. Ideas come in floods without invitation. To create art, in my opinion is a higher level of living, it’s like going into a trance. Life itself is inspiring, what I see, what I feel, my experiences, my dreams and imagination it all finds its way into my paintings.

4. You’ve been described as a "romantic with his feet firmly on the ground." How would you respond to that?

When I was young the very accusation of being a romantic would have made me angry and aggressive. I was quite convinced I was an intellectual with a very rational mind. But over the years I have realised that deep in my heart I am a romantic, I want life to be something more than just what I can see before my eyes.

5. What is a typical day in your life as an artist?

The first thing I do in the morning is check the weather and then the light. I wash, get dressed, eat my fruit yoghurt with crisp bread and drink my coffee. Then I go out for a walk in the nearby forest, up hill and down dale, never using the footpaths.

Back in the studio I look around the mess of over a hundred canvases up against the walls and spread over most of the floor: What shall I do today? What is most urgent, what would be most fun?

I may lay my eyes on a finished painting: How about a new version of this motif, concentrated towards the simplicity of a warning sign or a heraldic shield? I look around me for a canvas to use. OK, this painting is a failure anyhow, but it contains some parts that are useful for my new idea.

Then I may take a look at an unfinished painting: How about trying a bright cold red tone for these deep shadows?

I carry on like this until I finally decide which project to proceed with.

At noon I change into clean clothes and go upstairs for lunch. As work and leisure time take place within the same walls I try to separate them in other ways and so no one is allowed into my studio when I’m working, that would be just too distracting.

Back in my paint decorated clothes I continue my chaotic activities. Towards four o’clock I might get a little tired or start to lose concentration. So I think: Well, let’s play a little! I start mixing some smashing colours on scrap plates from the kitchen, thinning them with turpentine and then pouring or splashing them over different canvases. This is great fun! That baby pink is beautiful, how about combining it with silver? It would be like the decorations on the Christmas trees of my childhood! Hurray!

6. Can you tell us something about your technique or the process by which you create a painting? Where do you start?

I usually start very freely, drawing some simple lines with a brush or combining two or three colour tones to see how they match. Then I may leave that canvas till I know what to do next. To keep my mind and my paintings fresh and inspired I alter different techniques such as using a brush or a knife, dropping or splashing paint, even using shoeprints and other tricks.

Today viewers describe some of my paintings as “vibrating”. I honestly do not know myself how I achieve that quality. But I think it has to do with rhythm, with the way my eyes and my hands move when I’m inspired. It seems similar to what may happen when dancing or playing an instrument. When you find the right way to move you achieve a “flow”, one step or tone leads naturally to the next…

7. Your paintings appear to have a narrative element either in the finished painting or the way they are conceived is this intentional?

As a young artist I naively accepted the convention of thinking in categories: You paint a landscape, a still life, a nude etc. Later I more and more felt that was somewhat absurd, as life itself is not divided into categories. So I started combining them. The painting “Ample curves” for instance consists of a still life combined with a nude. Such combinations open lot of new aspects. If the quality of the fruits is somewhat declining it may give you associations also to human mortality, become a “memento mori”. I add the conventional categories of art to each other to build a new “whole” world.

8. Are there any particular artists who you admire or who influence you?

The first “real” art I saw must have been that of Anders Zorn at the museum in Mora. Was probably about ten … His glittering illusionist waters, his ditch-banks where I could see every tiny weed, or so I thought, until I went closer and discovered it was all only a chaotic mess of paint dots spread over the canvas.

In my mid teens, my art teacher declared: Your paintings lack composition, you ought to study Cezanne! So I did, over the years more than my teacher could ever dream of. Every book, every painting at every museum, every postcard. I was virtually obsessed with Cezanne. Today I have a collection of about 450 images of different Cezanne-paintings from that period.

At the art teacher training school in Stockholm everything became more complicated. My school-friends laughed at my admiration of Cezanne and suggested dozens of other idols as being better. As this was the great period of the Modern Museum in Stockholm under the leadership of Pontus Hultén, I saw all the new trends there: Action painting, pop art, installations, optic art, super realism, you name it. It took me many years to sort all this out. I’m still working on it…

To that I must add all I’ve seen during trips in Europe: Tintoretto’s wonderful “Susanna” and Brueghel’s stunning winter view in Vienna, all those Vermeer works shown in Den Haag and of course Van Gogh in Amsterdam as well as Monet’s Cathedrals at the Royal Academy in London…

9. Can you tell us something about you most recent work?

Most recent work…Hmmm, good question… I look round at the chaos of my studio. There are around 140 canvases spread about… Occupying every corner, up against the walls and all over the floor so which one shall I choose, which shall I name my most recent work? Who will be the chosen one?

Perhaps the “double exposed” portrait of Marilyn Monroe and a bathroom scene? Or maybe that of August Strindberg struggling with his Inferno? It would be nice bringing those works to a conclusion after all these years. But I get so many new ideas all the time…

The two versions of a Stockholm view for instance, one all in silver for a gloomy day and one all in gold for a sunny day…

I really don’t think I’ll know until much later what will be my “most recent work”…if you understand what I mean.

10. You recently achieved International recognition with a great article about you and your work in International Artist Magazine. How do you feel about that?

That was of course, very flattering but to my disappointment the magazine is almost impossible to buy in Sweden, or at least in Stockholm. I have received reactions on the article from other countries, but more frequently because of my presence on the internet. The net seems to be an increasingly important communication channel in art.

Konstfackskolan 1957-61 (TI).
The hard school of life. Still going on...

Selected exhibitions:

EuropArtFair, Amsterdam dec. 2019
Gallery Steiner, Vienna 2018
Gallery Nordic Art, Stockholm 2018
Gallery Bellman 2017
Gallery Svea, Stockholm 2015, 2016
Art Nordic, Copenhagen 2014
Affordable Art Fair, Stockholm 2012, 2014
Gallery Svea, Stockholm 2014
Art Fair Luftkastellet, Malmö 2013
The Gallery, London 2012
Gallery 40, Stockholm 2008-2012
Charter boat Qrooz, Stockholm 2010
Kista Autumn saloon, Stockholm 2009, 2010, 2011
Stockholm Art Fair 2001, 2002
Galerie Micro, Stockholm 1995-2007
Galerie Grahl, Berlin 1993, 1994, 1995
Liljewalchs Spring Saloon 1983


Palm Art Award, international arts
certificate of excellence 2010, 2012, nominated for 2014


Featured in Who's Who in Visual Art, 100 boarding. Artists
Art Domain Whois Verlag, Leipzig, 2012-13, 2014-15
ArtCompass Whois Verlag, Leipsig, 2016
Forgery of my painting "Drowning" discovered 2012
“Isheden målar nattens aura”, presentation in
the Swedish art magazine Konsttidningen, 2009
“Painting inside (and outside) the square"
Presentation in the International Artist, Australia 2001

Other projects

Decorating charter boat with artworks for a cruise with the President of Turkey and entourage 201
"Fyrtio år och två veckor” autobiografic story published in the Pocket Magazine “R” 2002
Exterior sculpture decoration at a sports hall, Salem 2001
Interiour wall Mosaic in the town hall, Salem 1995
Planning the Museum of Mental Health, Säter 1995
Planning and project management for the Carl Jularbo Museum, honouring a famous Swedish folk musician, 1993
Creator of "Empire of the Spiders", a science fiction cartoon for adults, 1979