Christiane Spansberg on her journey as an artist
Words by Lucinda McKimm
Interview by Anna White
Photography by Frederikke Nørgård
Art is a funny thing. Sometimes, it intrigues us, draws us in instantly. Other times, it leaves us perplexed, looking for purpose, for meaning.
It is difficult to explain why a piece of art can leave us with a certain emotion, or introduce particular thought patterns, but it is evident that when we observe art, it always evokes a feeling. The feeling may be strong, unwavering, or, perhaps it is weak, leaving you with little to say or think.
Observing the body of work of artist Christiane Spangsberg for the first time left us captivated, a feeling of allure that had us wanting to know more. Inspired by originality and imperfection, Christiane Spangsberg is from Vejle in Jutland, where she attended art school from a young age.
Using the one-line technique inspired by drawings of animals by Picasso, Spangsberg’s work explores human bodies and faces in works that blur the lines between simplicity and complexity. It is a pared back approach to art, but there’s a depth there, too.
There is a direct honesty to her paintings that has you wanting to understand the mind behind the creator, the motive behind her work.
And as you begin to get to know Christiane, it becomes more evident that those layers do exist.
There’s contemplation and reflection, and ideas explored.
Before shipping a work of two faces to New Zealand, for example, she drew on the idea of friendship.
“Before I made it I thought about friendships - how friends are such a big part of our lives and follow us through our joys and sorrows. Our good friends know who we are, they know our story, our flaws and mistakes. And they stay.
Self-described as curious, it is no wonder that Christiane makes for an interesting subject.
Here, she delves into her art world, the lessons learnt along the way and the bright future for Christiane Spansberg.
On describing herself in 3 words
Intuitive, curious, weird.
Her journey into the world of art
It started the day I decided to share what I did with other people, despite how vulnerable it felt. That’s four years ago. But I have been drawing my whole life - it’s really hard for me to describe. And the question - a journey into the art world. It’s funny. Cause I’ve never perceived it like that. I don’t know which world I’m going into. It’s not a conscious choice. My choice is to learn and communicate through the work I do. I do a lot of things differently - I’ve never wanted to be an artist. Or you know - the old fashioned type of artist. I am different. So whatever I do and what ever world I’m going in to, I just do it my way - the only way I know how to do it.
On why her work has a focus on woman
It’s interesting when people ask me “why”. I never think of the “why” before I work. It is just what it had to be. Maybe it’s a study of myself of messages and subjects I notice in the world. The female body has been an issue for a long time. How we perfect in order to escape other peoples judgements. The naked body is so fragile and so beautiful. Everything I do comes from within - I speak about the woman form and how we are perceived because I myself face difficulties. In everything I do it is so. Different subjects, but always a self study.
Her definition of beauty
I only recently start do dwell more into the definition of beauty. Beauty for us is something external. It is based on how you look, how you dress, your body, skin etc. But what if beauty has nothing to do with these things. What if beauty was the internal? When our Internal beauty is reflected in our smile, our body language, the way we treat ourselves and each other. To me that’s beauty. True beauty.
On what's inspiring her
How we look at faces. How we are surrounded by faces. Like if a face is just a face. But no. A face is a story. A book. A life. A generation. What we see and feel looking at a person is a reflection of ourselves. I’m curious about this. How we judge, how we perceive when it comes to our own species.
On her favourite piece of work
Every time I make a new work, and I push myself to constantly explore and develop my line - I have a need to keep the piece to myself. I have a few I know I will keep forever, cause it’s like every work is a part of a story and I need to keep some bricks to create my own puzzle as well.
Life lessons she has learnt along the way
That it is okay to show weakness. That I can’t work all the time and life needs to be a balance. Trust your intuition, and say no when you mean no. Be serious - only when you have to be, most of the time just be silly and have fun.
On the future for Christiane Spangsberg
My hopes are to have small exhibitions around the world, to meet as many amazing people as possible and to constantly practice within every area of my life. My next show will hopefully be in NYC in May/June.
Current mood: Good, relaxed - needed to get out of the house to find internet - sun is shining from a blue sky. It’s 8:10 AM and I’m sitting in a cafe eating an acai bowl.
Starsign: Capricorn, Gemini rising.
Book: Scary Old Sex.
Flower: Beautiful scented roses.
Most treasured wardrobe item: My planet jumper.
Go-to outfit: shower, nice perfume and smile - you can wear anything with that. But guess I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of gal.
Designers: I usually buy second hand - if I should name everyone I think is good I could go on forever. Freya Dalsjo (my friend from high school) is really talented!
Perfume: In constant change - at the moment I’m doing a mix of both perfumes from Aesop.
Favourites to follow on instagram: haha you know what?! I always end up watching my own stories on Instagram (cause I apparently think I’m fucking hilarious!!!) so stupid. Sitting there, laughing at yourself.
City to visit: Paris
Songs currently on repeat: Ghetto Gospel - 2Pac and Flight Facilities
Most happiest when: In a place where the sun is shining, the air is fresh, looking at the ocean with all my friends - maybe having a barbecue. haha. But no really - I’m “most happy” most times of the day.