On one of the picturesque streets in the Old Town, we meet Göran Billingskog, who is currently having an exhibition during his long career as an artist.
In the charming Engleson gallery, one can admire a variety of paintings with similar color combinations, including portraits and illustrations. On the right side hang paintings that break off from the rest of the color palette. Presented here are pastel, gentle colors that create a meditative and minimalist atmosphere that differs from the rest of the room.
The exhibition reflects Göran as an artist and person in a particularly apt way. He has greeted me with a warm smile and now we take a walk to buy coffee. In the meantime, I take the opportunity to ask Göran, who is now 70 years old, about how his career began. Göran shares his artistic background which started already when he was 17 years old. He says that his academic education did not follow the expected tracks and did not go as he had imagined - so he chose instead to invest in the inner creativity that was within him.
"It was a perfect form of expression for me, creating gave me an outlet for both my creativity and curiosity."
Back in the gallery, we settle down for a while and Göran continues to share his experiences in design, illustration and his years at Konstfack. He emphasizes that the training has given him a lot and it is clear that Göran has had no limitations when it comes to exploring new directions and techniques.
For the past xx years, Göran has mainly devoted himself to digital art. With the help of his iPad, he can always carry his creation with him and sometimes he takes it out to just draw some simple strokes, lines or shadows - sometimes he gets stuck for hours. When Göran shows me his iPad, he says something that piques my interest and makes me ask a follow-up question. "It fits perfectly into my lifestyle," he says.
Göran answers the question and shares that he has a three-year-old son who also has a passion for art and likes to spend time with his father. But son Björn above all loves to paint trucks and buses.
We meet Snoop Dogg, Ariana Grande and Jean-Michel Basquiat
After we sit and talk about Göran's background for a while, we return to the ongoing exhibition. Göran and I take a tour of the room and he shows me portraits of various iconic personalities. There are portraits of, among others, Snoop Dogg, Ariana Grande, Adele, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Rihanna and Iggy Pop. In each corner at the bottom there is a QR code to scan, where Göran has created a job description using an AI generator. A film appears on the screen and tells about the artist portrayed, and the text that is read out has been written by Göran with the help of Chat GPT. It is clear that Göran appreciates technology and is not afraid to take on new challenges. He also doesn't seem bothered by the future or the development of technology, which is a much-discussed topic today.
As we move through the gallery, we reach a painting that harmonizes with the color palette of the portraits we just encountered. Göran says that he appreciates strong colors and prefers to work with them. However, this specific work differs from the portraits. It is an abstract composition where you can glimpse the dust rising from the ground where a bomb has exploded.
Göran says that he created this work when he felt worried about the ongoing invasion in Ukraine. He explains that his intention is to portray something visually appealing to evoke thoughts, feelings and compassion for the current situation and the events taking place in the world right now.
Inspiration taken from beautiful shapes and lines
During our continued walk through the room, we see works that also follow the same color palette as before. This time there are portraits of women floating under the surface of the water. Surrounded by large, floating fabrics that wrap around their slender bodies. It is precisely large billowing fabrics that are the inspiration for the works. How textiles behave, and how beautiful it can be. Göran tells us that he finally wanted to add a human figure, and that's how the idea for the series came about.
We sit down at the narrow wooden table in the middle of the room, and Göran shows me a new QR code to scan. It leads to his website, gorito.com. He enthusiastically tells us that he will soon launch his webshop and offer Fine Art Prints. He also talks about the different series he will continue to work on.
- Initially, there will be four collections. First of all 'War', my expression of the senseless destruction in Ukraine with three different works. Then 'Portraits of Popular Icons' in art, music, science and literature, currently around 15 portraits. 'Kaleidoscope' is a digital meditative creation with repeating patterns to create a peaceful image. 'Underwater Meditation' captures women floating under water with billowing, colorful fabrics in a feeling of weightlessness, says Göran Billingskog.
With a passion for strong colors and a desire to evoke thoughts and feelings, Göran creates works of art that range from portraits of iconic personalities to abstract compositions depicting current events in the world. His works reflect both his artistic talent and his deep compassion for humanity.
Göran Billingskog is an artist who not only explores different forms of expression, but also inspires others through his flexibility, openness and courage to challenge himself. With an artistic journey that spans a long time, Göran continues to create and touch people with his unique and thought-provoking works.