Studio Visit

Kristine Hasseløy spent most of her younger years upside down. In her childhood home, everything stayed in the same place, the lay-out of the living room was set, the sofa had its place, there was no other way it could be. On her head in the sofa, looking up, the ceiling revealed itself. A blank canvas where anything could happen.

It was never a given that Kristine would end up an independent artist. Her restless nature and urge to explore took her through studies in art history, then religion, before giving museum communication a try, to a job as an elementary school teacher. All leading up to where she is today – in her studio in Drammen outside of Oslo. A bright, large, raw space, overlooking the river, where the blank canvases are greatly outnumbered by the ones covered in both one and two layers of paint.

“I start big before zooming in. It feels calming to focus on a smaller area, one frame, and just perfecting it.” Painting to Kristine is an intuitive process where the materials have the leading role. “My works are characterized by their many layers. Paint on paint atop linen and cotton. The very first layer is magical. Seeing how the paint acts when it meets the canvas. How it soaks in and alters the surface, seeing the interaction between the two materials.”

A large, open space allows her to focus on several artworks at once. Moving from one canvas to the other. Working with one color at the time. Laying the canvases down flat on the floor, or setting them up against the wall, moving from one to the other as the light from the large windows flows over them. There is no recipe or standard operating procedure, it’s all an act of instinct.

Kristine’s first encounter with a Varier chair was at the home of her late uncle. He lived in an architect drawn house, where everything was possible. To a young Kristine his home was unpredictable and exciting. In stark contrast to her own childhood home, where everything was set, safe and familiar. Seven years old she would run around the house and explore. There she discovered a piece of furniture that immediately caught her attention. “And the memory of the chair is still so vivid, I just remember seeing it, touching it, and I was just taken aback by it - like, this object is a chair, but it looks nothing like anything we would call a chair at home.”

“I loved going there, my imagination would just run wild. It was such a playful place.”

Today she has a handful of Varier chairs of her own. Altogether six Variable have been given space in her studio. «Variable is truly beautiful. I would never have it here if I didn't think so. I’m very much affected by my surroundings. It’s petite and low-key. It’s super easy to carry and move around. Painting on big canvases is quite straining on the body, especially the neck and shoulders, so having a chair that's easy to move around and helps me with my posture has made my everyday a lot easier.»

«It grounds me and feels like a safe space. I feel like the chair wants to take care of me somehow. It just feels safe. Low, close to the ground.»

A beige sofa atop a large white, shaggy rug, acts as a soft island among large canvases and buckets of paint. As an outsider looking in, it seems like an undeniably brave choice. The island sits in daring contrast to the raw floorboards covered in splashes of paint. “In-between sessions I kick off my shoes and lay down here. I breathe, look at the paintings and envision how they will look and feel in a home, because that’s where they’re meant to be.»

«I want to make beautiful things. Among artists, this often times feels like a controversial statement. There aren't any hidden messages in my art, it's all very intuitive. The world can be a cruel place, horrible things happen all the time. I want to make it a bit more beautiful, a little friendlier.»

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