Friday, October 27, 2017

Exclusive interview to Swedish artist Lars Erik Sjunnesson

Lars Erik Sjunesson was kind enough to answer some of my questions regarding his work in an exclusive interview for this blogue.
 I was afraid that he was going to try to kill me and put me like a "bosnian flat dog" but quite the contrary, he was really nice while comunicating with me.
 I've named these interviews that I've in this same blogue to other international artists "coffeeshop interviews", because I really see artists as honest souls that simply want to enjoy their work and the message that carries with it.
 Many thanks Lars   

1) I remember reading "Bosnian Flat Dog" several years ago by you and Max Andersson.
It triggered some memories of "Underground" movie by Emir Kusturica that I've had and it was a movie that I've watched some years before reading your book.
Yoguslavia was a weird country In the 90's and The Balkans also.
How did the name "Bosnian Flat Dog" appeared in your minds and later turned into an animation movie named Tito on Ice? 

Bosnian Flat Dog

"underground" movie poster by Emir Kusturica

Based on Bosnian Flat Dog 

Lars Erik Sjunesson: The Bosnian flat dogs were overrun dogs that we saw in Bosnia. I think they also appeared in a dream that Max had, or at least that’s what he told me. And that dream occurred even before we started our collaboration. I don’t know if there is any other connection. I never dream about dogs.

2) When I was reading the book, I didn't quite knew who were Lars or Max's drawings and who had the idea for this graphic novel.
Can you tell us a bit about the creation process of it? 

Bosnian Flat Dog page 

Lars Erik Sjunesson: Good. That was our intention. I tried to draw like Max. Max tried to draw like me. After a while I tried to draw like Max did when he tried to copy me drawing like him. Max did the same. So there was a lot of confusion. We also had to drink a lot. 

3) The narrative of the book is based on war and how countries and traditional values  and cultures can be mixed in a funny way, but you both formed a rapsodhy of it with a mere trip journey to the Balkans with lots of surrealism in it.
Were you influenced by some particular chapter of world History while creating this book without a political basys? 

Lars Erik Sjunesson: No, I don’t think we were influenced by any particular phase of anything. We learned about the Balkans while we were working. It’s a mess. We didn’t know that. By then it was too late and we had to finish the book. We were both totally naive and innocent. It’s very swedish to be like that.

4) Your work is awesome, really weird also and I love Ake Ordur stories a lot.
Can you tell us a bit of what are your influences while creating books or artworks? 

Ake Ordur by Lars Erik Sjunesson:

Lars Erik Sjunesson: I’m at loss about what my influences are, really. What’s driving me is a mix of pure frustration and something else, something that I can’t even define. But it’s somehow connected to war. I’m on a war-path when I’m working. Humor is pure aggression, I think. It’s scary.

5) You're also a Swedish artist that goes several times to Berlin.
What is your opinion of that city with a different language and a different culture than Sweden? 

Lars Erik Sjunesson: I live in Berlin. There are a lot of similarities between Sweden and Germany, or at least I think so. But I can’t judge it anymore. I’ve spent too much time outside Sweden. But Germany is boring.

6) You told me that you haven't created a sketch or a drawing for a while with Max Andersson and I know that you're friends.
Why couldn't you draw a sketch or an artwork with Max since you did an excellent team work in "Bosnian Flat Dog"? 

Drawing by Lars Erik Sjunesson and Max Andersson 

Lars Erik Sjunesson: A lack of opportunities I guess. But we did one for you. That was fun. 

7) You visited Portugal several times. What's your opinion of Portugal and its culture and values? 

Lars Erik Sjunesson: Yes, I like Portugal. But I do not speak portuguese. Judging from the people I’ve met it still seems possible to talk about almost anything, without any restraints. Sweden is in many ways the opposite of that.

8) Do you think that "Bosnian Flat Dog" reached its worldwide audience by being published in several languages in a funny way? 

Lars Erik Sjunesson: Yes maybe. Or pure luck.

9) Can you tell us a bit of who are your favourite movies, books and artists? 

Lars Erik Sjunesson: If it’s depressing enough and funny, I normally like it. Right now I’m reading Houllebecq. When it comes to movies, I prefer american noirs from the forties. 

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