I remember finding a piece of artwork online. It was a gorgeous blonde woman in a bath, looking sad. It looked like someone I knew. So, I did a reverse image search in Google. The result? Swedish artist Linnea Strid, and the piece, titled, “embraced by the silence”. I have been hooked on her work ever since then. I bought a copy of the print of that piece and even enquired about the original. Sadly, it had been sold. Her work is so stunningly beautiful! It looks real and evokes the feeling and emotions of the subject matter. She is easily one of my favourite artists in the world. Just need her to do a show, in my neck of the woods.
1. Where are you from?
Sweden, I guess? That was always a tricky question to me. My family moved around a lot when I grew up and we only lived one year in the small village where I was born. Since I moved to my own place when I was 19 I've kept doing that same thing, after 1-2 years in one place I move on, looking for something different, and better? I'm a pretty restless person I guess, I need the change of scenery. I hope I'll find that special place that I can feel "ahh, now I'm home, I want to live here until I die" however I doubt that will ever happen.
2. How did you first get interested in doing art?
I've been doing art for a long time now. I've been drawing and painting since I was 2 years old and I got my first crayons and it was instant love. I remember when I was a kid and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and the answer was always: an artist. I had a brief period where I wanted to be an archaeologist, too but that one ended once I realized how difficult it was to find dinosaur bones in our backyard in Sweden.
3. Are you self-taught or did you go to art school?
I've gone to two "basic" art schools that we have here in Sweden. Those are the kind of preparative art schools you go to before you apply to the real art colleges. I was kind of being a stupid kid back then and didn't take advantage of my time there, I goofed around a lot and mostly just hung out with my new artsy pals (I never really had those before, so that was cool). Also I think the whole "school model" was never right for me, I always felt trapped and weird. Anyway after my years there I applied to the "real" art schools multiple times but never got in so I thought eh fuck it, I'll do it anyway. And in hindsight I think it was probably for the best, I've been able to make a living without that education and I don't have a huge student loan hanging over me like a dark cloud of doom.
4. How did you get into doing hyperrealism? How would you describe your style?
Painting and drawing things in a realistic style has always been my thing. I don't know why. I have tried to make abstract art, surreal art, and different kinds of sculptures. It didn't feel right. But maybe I can try it out again in the future, who knows? I don't think I would call my art hyper real. Photorealist maybe since I work from reference pics and people tell me the paintings look like photos, but hyperrealism to me is something different. Like zooming in and studying pores and stuff. I don't usually do that. If other people want to call my style of art this or that, that's fine, but it's not important to me. If anything, it feels limiting. Like "THIS is what Linnea Strid does, and she would only dare to step out of that box!" But people love to put labels on everyone and everything so it's understandable.
5. Lots of your work seems to be in the bath tub. What do you have against showers?
Haha! Showers are nice too. I think my work is probably 60/40 tub/shower but that's mostly because it's easier to take the reference pics in the bath without soaking your camera. I usually take the photos myself with my DSLR so you can imagine the struggle. Phew.
6. Where do you find your inspiration?
Well, I get inspired by other artist's work. But I seldom look at artists working in the same genre for inspiration. I don't want to end up copying other people's work even unintentionally. Also, there's so much great art out there in styles that I am in complete awe of and I can't wrap my head around how they do it. Best way for me to get inspired is to go and see an art show. Just seeing art in person gives me that injection with happiness and energy and I crave it from time to time. Apart from that, I draw ideas for my paintings from what's going on in my own life and my personal experiences and feelings. My art is very much autobiographical.
7. You've been doing lots of stunning water colours lately. What motivated you to get into that style?
Oh, thank you so much! Without diving too much into it, I've been going through some pretty bad stuff these last years and it sort of left an open wound inside me. As a part of my healing process, I needed to do something completely different, try new things and experiment, and not give a shit about what people were going to think about it or if it was going to sell. It was pure therapy and I needed to do it just for me. And I was pretty surprised when people actually said they liked it and even wanted to buy it. It's a side project though, and I'm still doing my realistic oil paintings because that style has always been the most natural for me.
8. What five things can you not live without?
Paint, music, passport, Smartphone.... chocolate?
9. How important is Social Media to artists in this day and age?
Oh, very important I think. At least if you try to live off your art alone. I thank social media for a lot in my career. In that sense I feel very thankful for living in this weird age. To me it's been important not only for sales but also because that's how I network with other artists all over the world and to be honest it makes this isolated job feel a bit less lonely.
10. From start to finish what is your process for creating?
First off, I figure out what kind of painting I want to make. Then set up a photo shoot. Then edit the pics. Cut, sand and prime panels. Make a rough sketch on the panel. Make an under painting in acrylics. Try to remember to eat. Then bring out the oils and work until my eyes bleed and my arm and back hurts. I like to suffer for my art like a true artist. Haha.
11. When you first started making art where did you think it would take you?
The only thing I ever wanted was to live off my art. Just make enough money so that I could eat and pay my bills. Having a lot of fancy stuff was never that important to me and I could never imagine that would ever happen. And the whole "fame" thing is so stupid even though I think all the artists want to be well known and written about in the history books. Leave a legacy to the world after we're gone. And hopefully our grandchildren will be filthy rich because of our art. That being said, I could never imagine that I would be lucky enough to show my work all over the world like this. It's a dream come true for sure and I feel very, very fortunate.
12. Where can people find you work?
I'm represented by the Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City (LA) so they show a lot of my work. I will have paintings in some of the group shows they will be curating this Summer/Fall:
August 13th - October 30th Lancaster Museum of Art and History (MOAH) in Lancaster, CA
September 3rd - September 24th Vertical Gallery in Chicago, IL
November 5th - January 6th The Brand Library and Arts Center in Glendale, CA
November 29th - December 4th SCOPE Miami Beach Art Fair in Miami, FL (during Art Basel Week)
I'm also showing a bigger piece at The Stephen Romano Gallery in Bushwick, Brooklyn in an ongoing group show until July 29th
And on facebook people can follow my public posts. I don't really update my fan page on there anymore because I refuse to pay for my posts to get visibility.
13. Oreo Or Fudgee-O cookies?
Fudgee-whatnow? Yeah, we don't have that in Sweden. Is that Canadian? I'm gonna have to go with Oreos until I try that fudge thing. I usually love all kinds of cookies though.
I would also add that you should give Linnea a follow on any social media platforms she uses as she loves her fans and replies and interacts with them. I find that very rare with an artist of her caliber. Plus, she’s got an amazing sense of humour and is just a very positive, fun and amazing person!