Øssur Mohr has been a favorite artist of mine since I laid eyes on one of his mesmerizing paintings ten years ago. It was a stunning, abstract representation of a small village in the Faroe Island. It was a huge canvas dominated by blue, red and green, and portraying the fjord, sky, mountains, houses… I could stare at it for hours and get lost in its beauty. I was young and on a student budget, I couldn’t even dream of owning this beautiful piece. Besides, the painting was about 1.5 x 2m; where was I going to put it? My 35-sqm apartment didn’t have a wall big enough to hang it… Unfortunately for me, it was sold within days, and I never saw the painting again. It left such a deep impression on me! I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever come across it again, by an unbelievable and impossible coincidence, and to finally be able to grasp my chance of owning the most beautiful painting I’ve ever seen.
Needless to say, this drove me to visit the Faroe Islands in the hope to see this place with my own eyes. It is with great enthusiasm that I met Øssur Mohr in his studio in the village of Fuglafjørður, with a view over Mount Leirvik, which he paints again and again. It was a trip I’ll never forget. The Faroe Islands are truly magical.
After a recent move to Copenhagen, Mohr continues to paint the landscape, light and colors of his native village. I wanted to know more about him, his work and his quest to reproduce “the fleetness of the moment”.
Q: How did your passion for painting started?
A: I started painting in 1989, and it started very spontaneously. I took an evening class. Painting quickly became a passion. I took a leap of faith and quit my job to paint full time. I’m very happy to be able to live from it today. I noticed that I’m increasingly critical with myself. But it pushes me to get better, work more, and develop my talent.
Q: Tell me about your paintings. You always paint the view from your window – Why is that?
A: Yes, I have always painted the view from my studio window, and I still do. I cannot help it! The landscape is impregnated in my head and in my heart, and it is what I long to paint. The Faroe Islands are very special, and they fascinate me. I simply cannot stop painting them on my canvas. Maybe it is because I was born and raised in Fuglafjørður, and it left a deep impression on me.
I have painted the same scene again and again, but nothing is ever the same. It’s a great challenge to try to get better and better, and to try to capture the fleetness of the moment…
Q: Do you have a favorite moment to paint the view? When is the view at its best?
A: I paint at all times and in all seasons, but I mostly love colors in the spring and winter, when they change most. Moreover, in winter, the weather in the Faroe Islands is very harsh. No day is the same, the weather and the colors can change several times in a day – It’s amazing!
Q: Have you ever considered painting something else? – The view from your Copenhagen home, for instance?
A: No, I have not, and it doesn’t interests me… I had a studio in Copenhagen and yet, I painted Faroese landscapes. Today, my atelier is in Jutland, Denmark, and, while my paintings are more abstract, they are still about the Faroe Islands.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: My paintings were much more naturalistic and Cubist some years ago, Today my work is more abstract and expressive. My art represents an eternal search and longing to recreate fleeting moments and the changing glimmer of light, but I must continuously remind myself that it can only be done in glimpses.
Q: What inspires you?
A: There are a lot of things! No day is the same. Not even when I work in the studio. But I would say I’m strongly inspired by unusual weather and light. A sweet and lovely note from my wife can brighten any day. I also take inspiration from people I meet at mundane places like the grocery store or the post office and that have a twinkle in their eyes.
Sometimes, days at the studio can be long and unproductive and suddenly, out of the blue, everything is bright and inspiring. I don’t know what triggers those creative surges, but that’s what makes being a painter exciting and challenging all at once. You never know when or where you’ll be inspired.
Q: Which artist(s) influence(s) you?
A: There are several artists that I like: Maja Lisa Engelhardt and Kenneth Nielsen, among others. They are very inspiring, and I have the chance to count them as friends, too.
Q: Are you planning exhibitions soon? Where can we see your work?
A: I have many exhibitions planned for the next few years… I’m now working on a big event at Laerken gallery in Nykobing, Denmark, in 2015. This will be a joint exhibition with Conni Bønløkke, another talented Danish artist. Visit us at Laerken, Hollands Gaard 10, 4800 Nykøbing Falster, Denmark. T: +45 40543311 E: [email protected] . For more info: http://www.laerken.nl