Hakon Soreide [artistico]
What do you do? How do you define yourself as an artist?
I do a bit of everything. The first artistic thing I defined myself as doing being poetry and writing, and then later starting to play music, painting, drawing and getting into photography.
Do you upload your work to the web? If so, where could we see it?
When do you get your best ideas?
Good ideas tend to come to me in the middle of working with something, in the inspiration that is the process itself, when the mind is in a particular state that leaves it open to new things.
When I am not working, my best ideas tend to come to me in the late evening, sometimes even in the fleeting moment between being awake and falling asleep, leaving me with the choice of waking myself up to make a note of my idea or falling asleep and risking to have forgotten all about it in the morning.
How do you evaluate whether an idea is good or not?
When it comes to art, I tend to define what is good art in terms of being "interesting". This very vague quality is that special thing a work has that makes you stop and view it no longer neutrally or with indifference as you experience it, but a channel of communication opening up between you and the work, and - even though you do not know it - you see something of yourself in it.
As I often work intuitively, I don't have a plan for reaching this "interestingness," but let it come naturally as part of the process. Sometimes, I need to get a work of art at a distance before I can recognise this in my own pieces.
When and how did you begin to see yourself as an artist?
in November 1992, at age 18, I suddenly had the revelation that I wanted to do creative writing when I had a good idea for a story, and already then I considered myself an artist in the general sense.
Later, it was Christmas Day 1999 that I suddenly and coincidentally discovered that I could paint and realised that I wanted to make art for a living.
How should a work of art be evaluated?
The only true assessment that should be important is which works of arts communicate with you. Thankfully, we are all different, with different experiences, different lives, and different senses of the aesthetic. What appeals to one person can be someone else's garbage.
There is the old adage "I may not know much about art, but I know what I like," and I think that is really true. Art appreciation is not about what is critically acclaimed, historically canonised, or simply from a famous artist.
Art is a means of communication, and the main thing is what and if it communicates with you, whether you experience in it something that reflects your own mind and your own life experience, something that stirs emotions in you, makes you reminisce, think or simply has a quality that makes you stop and look even if it is something you cannot define the reason for.
Must an artist reinvent him/herself everyday?
It is naturally not necessary to reinvent oneself every day. But it is also important not to do the same thing over and over again. In my own experience, the best works of art are the ones created when you challenge your own abilities, doing something that you find a bit difficult, or working with a new technique or medium.
When you learn something new in the process of a work, it tends to show in the finished product, and it has a certain life to it. In a painting, for instance, the process of painting and learning to paint that way all becomes part of the image, and though you might not even know it when you look at it, there is something that instinctively tells you there is something special about it.
Does it pain you to let go of a piece you have sold?
There is a certain handful of pieces that have a special place in my heart, and though I've not sold any of them yet, I am sure that I will be reluctant to let them go, but knowing they go to an appreciative home, and provided I get an offer for them I cannot afford to refuse, I will sell them. Perhaps with the exception of one or two.
Is a work of art purchased, or is it better said, that it is the artist who is bought?
Though I put much of myself into my works of art, it does gain its own life and soul separate from me as the artist. If I feel there is too much of myself in a work of art, I do not sell it until I feel so much time has passed that the me that is in the work is someone I once was, but I have changed enough that I feel it is not necessarily how I am anymore.
This is particularly true of my poetry, that by its very nature is more implicitly personal than my visual art.
Do you personally collect any items?
I collect Native American style flutes, works of art in both looks and sound.
Do you have an online gallery where one can view your photos?
For how long have you done photography? How did you begin?
Though I have owned a camera since I was 10 and started doing photography semi-seriously 11 years later, the most important shaping event in my photographic self-education was the discovery of Adobe Lightroom November 2007.
Taking a picture is only half the work, and that finally made it easy for me to do the kind of post-processing on my photos that made them from just a photo and into what I feel are works of art.
Just 6 months later, I had taken more photos after that discovery than I had before in all my life put together, I had new and better cameras, I had a big printer to sell high-quality prints, and my photograhy no longer felt secondary to my painting, but something that gave me an equal sense of creative pleasure.
What has been your education as a photographer?
As in all my artistic work, I am self-taught in photography.
What is your favourite type of photography?
Black and white close-up photography of random subjects that just happen to be there on my way through life. Often things that will be gone the next day or soon, making the photo a unique moment that is impossible to replicate: clouds, fallen feathers and leaves, images of rust, decay and dereliction.
What do you try to express through your photography?
One of my ongoing photographic projects is expressing the beauty of the little things, shown through close-ups of things that I find on my way as I walk through town or nature, often with the emphasis of structure, shape and texture that comes with using black and white.
Do you normally photograph with a purpose already in mind, or do you let yourself go with the flow?
I do go with the flow, but I have some favoured subjects that I seek out on my photo walks.
Describe your current equipment: cameras, lenses, computers, accessories...
I have used cameras from both Leica (M6), Mamiya (7II), Minolta (TC-1) Nikon (F50, F80, Coolpix 880), Canon (EOS 350D, EOS 5D), Olympus (Mju-II), Fuji (Finepix F30), Zero (Multi 2000 pinhole camera), Kowa (6MM) and Busch (Pressman 4"x5").
With the adaption of an almost 100% digital workflow, my current cameras are a canon 5D, used mostly with a 70-200mm f4.0 stabilised lens. The lens is one that is perfect for most I want to do with a camera, bringing out the detail of a close-up shot, with selective sharpness and giving something shape by the contrast between what is in focus and what is not. It is only Canon who has a lens like it, other 70-200 professional lenses being twice as heavy, which gives me a good reason to stick with Canon for now.
I also like packing light, and at present there is really only one digital compact that has the image quality I need to feel that I am not missing out on something for not bringing my big camera, and that is the Sigma DP1. It is one of those love it or hate it cameras that, when all comes down to it, is alone in its class and a brilliant creative tool for those who look beyond the limitations and see the possibilities.
Since I like taking close-ups, I have augmented my Sigma DP-1 with Hoya close-up lenses which gives it the same close-up capability as my Canon with the 70-200 lens, only in a smaller and lighter package, albeit I have to get much closer to get the picture.
For what is the most important part of the work, the post-processing, presenting and printing, I use a 24" iMac, the indispensable Adobe Lightroom, and an Epson Stylus Pro3800 A2 printer.
What software and plug-ins do you use to retouch and manage your photos?
Adobe Lightroom covers 99% of my work.
What measures do you take to protect your work against Internet piracy?
I personally think too many people are unnecessarily worried about this. A web-sized image is only enough to make a crummy 4x6 print, and if someone wants to do that without my permission, I guess there is nothing I can do to stop them.
Intrusive watermarks in the middle of images, disabling right-clicking and tiny images are all things that I find very annoying when I am looking at the works of others. I won't do that.
I think it is important that when someone discovers my work online, they will have the quality available to them that makes it possible to appreciate it also in that format. That is more important to me than selling prints.
Are you a good salesperson of your work? In what should you improve?
I would have to say no. I have a lot of work that I know and that others tell me is marketable, but where I spend a lot of effort creating, I spend almost nothing marketing.
Do you consider yourself more technical or more artistic?
More artistic, though understanding the technical aspects of photography are important in expressing something with artistic intention.
When should one use film, and when should one use digital?
Film or digital is all a matter of personal preference and workflow. There is no wrong or right, and - like with religion - one shouldn't try pushing what works best for oneself as the solution to others.
What happens today is that most film is scanned and then further worked on digitally, and in that context, starting with digital is a great improvement in workflow and efficiency.
In the end, one has to be comfortable with a way of working, and that comfort will often show in the end product.
Which websites for photographers do you frequently visit?
What do you do? What is your musical specialty?
I am first of all a woodwind player, specialising mostly in playing Native American flutes, as well as playing the recorder, some on the xaphoon, and a bit of the piano.
Is there a web address where one can listen, see, or read some of your work?
What was your musical education?
When do you have your most lucid moments, in the morning or night?
Always at night, and usually when I should have been sleeping.
Have you ever awoken with a melody created from your dreams?
Yes - but it tends to be so fleeting that it disappear before I have time to make notes of it.
How often do you practice?
Not as often as I should since most of my other creative work tends to take precedence to my music.
What should be done to stop piracy?
Music should be made available for legal downloads at a price that anyone would be willing to pay for it.
What time did you get up this morning?
9.20 - my usual time
If you were sent to a deserted island, which book, CD and film would you take with you?
Book: Richard Bach "Jonathan Livingston Seagull"
CD: Fleetwood Mac "Rumours"
Film: Love Actually
How do you respond to telemarketing calls?
I hang up.
Are you an ex-smoker? How did you quit?
Never smoked at all. Not a single drag ever, and quite proud of it.
What toy gave you the best moments of your childhood?
Slusken, my stuffed dog.
How did you meet your current boy/girlfriend?
Does knowing someone's zodiac sign help you to better understand that person?
To what percentage do you believe in statistics?
Depends on the statistics.
Do you believe many illnesses can be caused by the mind?
Just like the mind can heal, the mind can cause illness. If we believe we are sick, that is what we become.
Does brand name influence your buying habits?
Are there too many holidays in the work calendar?
There are too few.
Do you think the catastrophism about climate change has been exaggerated?
Definitely. Especially since most of the things that we are supposed to do to prevent further change won't work.
Do you boycott brands if you learn they employ children in third-world countries or harm the environment?
Do you defend animal experimentation for the development of medicine that can save human lives?
Yes. If the experiments aren't on animals, it would take a few years extra, and a certain number of experiments - if deemed safe - would have to be on human test subjects. is an animal's life worth more than a human's? Most people would say no.
What is your opinion of the rise in popularity of plastic surgery and implants?
It is a sign that more and more people don't know what happiness is and how to attain it.
Should more limits be established for cars within downtown areas?
Provided there is the infrastructure for it, buses, trains and trams and whatnot, car traffic should be limited as much as possible in downtown areas.
Do extraterrestrials exist?
Microbial life, certainly
What do you currently have in your MP3 player?
I have almost all of the music I listen to even semi-frequently. A wide variety of pop, jazz, blues, soundtracks, musicals, celtic and world music.
What books are you currently reading?
Abarat, Buster's Diaries and Never Let Me Go
Places in the world that you have visited recently.
Glasgow several times the last 5 months. I also went to Italy for a week earlier this summer.
What is that special film you never tire of watching?
O Brother Where Art Thou
Great Expectations (1998)
Sound of Music
What do you use: Mac or PC and why?
I use both - my Mac also doubles as a PC.
Do you find the saturation of advertising in the media excessive?
Yes - but I tend to filter it out and don't take much notice unless I want to.
Do you believe there is excessive sex and violence in the media?
Yes - especially violence.
Do you think video games, chat rooms, etc. have a dangerous addictive
effect on teenagers?
It certainly can have. I have myself been addicted to chatting, and though it is easier to detox from that than from other addictions, it certainly has some of the same effects on life, absorbing too much of your attention and energy.
Has there been a personal-growth book that has transformed your life?
The Tao of Pooh
Have you ever bought works of art? What type of art? What compels you to purchase art?
Before I started painting myself, I did buy a few pieces of art, my key motivation was that I loved the pictures.
Do you defend urban graffiti?
Graffiti is art, but tagging isn't, and often ruins the good pieces of graffiti and turns the whole thing from what could have been a decorative and interesting piece of art into a disfigured facade. Shame, really, that good graffiti pieces tend not to be left alone.
What magazines do you frequently read?
Piracy continues to grow: What will happen to the music and film
industries and culture in general?
They will have to adapt. They must make their work available at the price that people actually are willing to pay, though at the moment, sales really aren't down to the extent that the music industry in particular are suggesting. Most pirated downloads wouldn't be translated into sales but is a substitute for many for listening to the radio or listening to something in the record shop.
Many who download also buy the CD, DVD or software if it is something they like or want to keep using.
What do you have in your wallet right now?
Credit cards, a few receipts, about $50 in cash, and a photo of my girlfriend.
Where have you thought of going for your next holiday?
I know I am going to Italy next year, but a trip to Prague might come sooner.
Are you pro-choice or pro-life?
Are you in favor of or against the death penalty?
I am against the death penalty, though there are certain crimes that makes me question whether I really am sometimes.
Should homosexual couples have the same right to adopt as heterosexual couples?
Does the soul exist?
Yes. if by the question it is supposed to be implied there is an immortal soul, then the answer is no. We are all energy that changes form.
If the ticket price for a football match is twice the regular price for those 12 years of age or older, and your child turned twelve yesterday, what age would you say your child is?
If you were a millionaire, what would be your charitable work?
i would certainly make donations to Amnesty International, the Red Cross and Save the Children.