SKYN: Pia, I want to start off by saying that your work is captivating, how did visual art become your calling?

PIA: It took me some time to realize what I needed to be happy. After failing high school I spent a couple of years cleaning for a hospital before deciding I had to make some changes in my life. I left Norway to work abroad for a summer, and by fall I got into a folk high school in Norway studying costume and makeup for theater. I understood that I needed to create to be happy, and so I ended up studying visual art the following six years.

SKYN: That's a hell of a long time but clearly the payoff was worth it, do you also take pictures of your visual art or do you have somebody else to do that for you?

PIA: I used to. During art school you're left to your own skills to document your work, and the advice you're given is to make sure you have a good camera, as if a good camera is all it takes to create good photography. Now I'm lucky to share my life with a brilliant photographer that is generous enough to help me out.

SKYN: Everybody needs a brilliant photographer in their lives, I’m personally enthralled by the textures in your installations, what materials do you generally use in your sculptures and installations?

PIA: Textile is my main material. I work a lot with shiny fabrics and fur like materials. Materials that have strong tactile qualities, and that allows a lot of freedom in the process of shaping them. I have also worked with natural latex sheets as a surface for some work, and metal rods as a sort of bones or skeleton.

SKYN: Right I definitely see a lot of fur and reflective properties it really makes the installation something to behold, what is like being a visual artist in Oslo?

PIA: I moved to Oslo about six months ago after 3 years in Reykjavik. So far it has been a pleasure. I quickly found a studio space to work in, and I've been very productive since moving here. There's a lot more options in terms of exhibitions to apply for. Since am working with sculpture it makes a big difference not having to ship work overseas from Reykjavik to exhibit.

SKYN: I know studios that fit all your needs are fairly difficult to find so it’s great to know that you found one when you did, what kind of music do you listen to when you are working?

PIA: Honestly I mostly feed of the playlists of those around me, with the exception of reggae. When I work I usually listen to the radio, or I might listen to something like James Blake, or Ane Brun.

SKYN: Aww no reggae? Well I guess everything ain’t for everybody. So your work has been exhibited in film fest 2014, Soil for Rotten Seeds, The Norwegian Knitting Industry Museum, Jónsson Museum and so many others. Do you feel as though these accomplishments validate you and your work or do you need more?

PIA: I am very happy with all the chances I've had to exhibit. But most of these are still from my time studying, and from unpaid exhibitions. It will take a lot more to survive as an artist. My first proper and funded solo exhibition is coming up this fall in a beautiful little gallery space for textile artists called Soft, in Oslo.

SKYN: I see where does your motivation to create come from in those cases?

PIA: Communicating what I can't express in other ways.  

SKYN: That is likely the reason a lot of artists do what they do, can you tell us about any challenges you’ve come across in your career?

PIA: I keep facing the question whether or not it makes sense to continue. Right now I have no secure income and I am facing the humiliation of having to lend money to pay the rent for my studio and my apartment. Financially my profession is a disaster at this point. At the same time I just got news about a big gallery wanting to exhibit my work, which can be a big break for me.

SKYN: Jeez I can only imagine, there are probably so many people out there wanting to do what they love but fear the very issues you just talked about, on a lighter note however, what are three brands that encapsulate your likes and admirations right now?

PIA: I am not really interested in brands, and most clothes I buy are second hand, or resewn to fit my ideas. Knowing how to sew changes the perspective on shopping for clothes. Things I am loving right now are plant patterns, anything velvet, and a wonderful bubble knit sweater I'm working on.

SKYN: Oh for sure, when you can alter something to your liking like that, it opens up a world of possibilities. Your work is so interesting in the sense that it plays with textures, colors and shapes in such interesting depth, I really enjoy the installations you have made that look like gigantic intestines, what inspired that piece and installations like it?

PIA: My work comes from an interest in the mix of the physical and mental experiences we collect from materials. How we know what a surface feels like without touching it, and how we apply human traits, emotions and intentions, to objects. I connect the shapes I create and the experience the shapes and materials evoke, with the dark emotions that can grow in the depth of our mind. I ask myself what a destructive mental state would look like if you could separate it from your mind, drag it out of the body. And I think of the care that takes place for these emotions to grow in someone. So body-like shapes, or associations to body in torment, growth or destruction, become interesting to me because when we meet these shapes we might connect with the sensation of torment, the emotional conflict they represent.

SKYN: Beautifully put, oh Congratulations for the Debutant  Prize by the way, for your work on "As they believe my lying body", what does that mean for your career?

PIA: This means that there is an interest for my work that might up the chances to get funding and exhibitions. It also gives me confidence to keep working on my art, which in times like these means everything.

SKYN: Confidence is core at the end of the day, does your work have you traveling a lot?

PIA: Not so much, but I love to travel so I hope for more in the future. For the time being it is difficult for me to move works from place to place, due to size and cost.

SKYN: I can understand that, the craft comes first and it’s not like your work is all that portable, so random question, if you weren’t an artist what would you be instead?

PIA: A carpenter or mechanic.

SKYN: You are certainly good with your hands so there’s a clear connection, what has been your favourite exhibition out of all of them and why?

PIA: That is really hard to say, I had such fun and learned so much from all of them. Perhaps the last one, a group exhibition last fall that exhibited four of my works. I loved it because it was in my hometown Trondheim, the first gallery I started dreaming of exhibiting in when I began studying art.

SKYN:  It’s great to realize those dreams and goals, I know that we sort of touched on this already, but what challenges have you experienced as an artist?

PIA: Besides the financial turmoil it has been a challenge to come to terms with the honesty needed to create and talk about my work. I am a very private person, and I enjoy my own company more than social events most of the time. My art practice defies this nature. My work is its own language, a way to aggressively express thoughts and emotions that I can't express in other ways.

SKYN: I hear the words of an introvert in that statement! Thats cool, i’m an introvert as well so I can relate and i’m sure lots of others can as well. Who is an unappreciated artist in your opinion?

PIA: Wow. I don't have an answer for that.

SKYN: Alright so do you have an answer for this then: What makes you happy?

PIA: My studio, oceans, and foosball for beer challenges.

SKYN: That's neat, could you equate feminism with one word in your opinion?

PIA: Humanism.

SKYN: That it is, could you tell us about what your Academy experience was like, everybody has a wildly different one so i’m curious about yours and how it informs your drive.

PIA: It was a wonderful time. In my bachelor in Bergen I specialized in textile and loved every project. I learned so much, and was getting closer to the materials I wanted to work with. It took me some time to find a way to write about my work, but luckily they cared more about the craft than the writing in that school. My masters in Reykjavik became a new challenge. The school was far more conceptually based, and I had to deliver a proper thesis with my final work. I enjoyed the process a lot.

SKYN:I see, with that said,  who has been important in your growth as an artist?

PIA: The artists Nicholas Hlobo, Per Inge Bjørlo, and Berlinde de Bruyckere.

SKYN: All artists we vow to look into, especially if they have inspired the incredible work that you are responsible for, tell us about a guilty pleasure you have?

PIA: That has to be watching TV shows and napping in my studio. The studio becomes a wonderful place of me time that usually means work, but sometimes napping.  

SKYN: Napping is one of the most underrated forms of self-love, just putting it out there, oh and speaking of love, are you in love?

PIA: Yes I am! I have the most wonderful, generous and adventurous man in my life.

SKYN: That's sweet, could you tell us something that people would be surprised to know about you?

PIA: I had a pet monkey when I was a kid, he was named after the monkey Blip in the Space Ghost show I used to watch with my brother on Cartoon Network.

SKYN: Oh wow Blip? Well there is something you don’t hear everyday, so what can we expect to see next from you Pia?

PIA: Artist residency in Australia. Fingers crossed.

SKYN: Absolutely we wish the best regarding that. When next we get to Oslo, do we have an open invitation to spend some time with you? 

PIA: Yes! Come visit my studio, or challenge me for a game of foosball.

SKYN: Will do, could you tell us where everyone can find you on the internet?

PIA: www.piarognes.com


Vanessa Peters

@sofxposh | www.sofxposh.com





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