Interview 15. Emma Wiberg Jelk.

This artist is one that I have taken notice about (her artwork that is) ever since she started to post her creations in this local (Swedish) facebook group that we´re both members in (Svenska konstnärer). She creates the kind of pieces that you just get “stunned” by, the jaws litterally drop when you look at the detail and the ultra-über-realistic realism of it…well, thats my take on it. My way to try to describe how amazing I think her work is…painting a little with the words…but, no, my words can not describe this. You just have to check it out for yourselves. The images I´ve chosen to illustrate this text is not enough, not by far. Go see more! You´ll have the links in the end of this interview.

Me: Hello Emma! Please, introduce yourself (anyway you prefer) to the readers, who are you? (as briefly or extensive as you like to).

Emma: I am thirty years old, and a mother of two fantastic children. I live with my children and husband in uppsala, and that is where I spend most of my time. I’m a bit of restless type of person, squeezing every little drop out of almost everything that gets into my hands. We have lots of instruments in our home and usually dance while cooking dinner, music is a big part of my life. I love nature, and to run long distances, co-sleeping with the whole family, and of course, I love to paint! But as I am a restless person, I love to do everything at the same time and I have to do creative stuff with whatever I have in front of me; like knitting, sculpture, photography, building stuff with trash, playing the guitar, piano, singing, painting stones, and wood carving. The list is long. 

Me: Tell me, how the h**l can you paint the way you do? I mean…it is soooo realistic. Did you learn by yourself or have you got any formal art education?

Emma: Hm.. Ok, I will try to answer this. All this is actually pretty new to me. I’ve always known I was good at drawing, but I’ve struggled a lot with patience before. But after becoming a mother, my patience has grown, and three years ago while I was big as a house, pregnant with my second child, I started to paint. A painting with a thousand tiny bubbles, and all of a sudden I didn’t get bored as I often did before. Since then, I’m pushing myself more and more. Caring more about every detail. I know that it only gets better with every minute of attention I pay to the details I’m painting. And it feels like the only limit is my mind. I think that’s why I love running long distances, going slow, but never stop pushing. So, I have never been taking any formal art classes, I’m just very stubborn. But i sometimes think that my way of painting is a bit “wrong”, because when I look at paintings made by people who went to art school I see that they are not as focused on the details that I am, but they make it look soooo realistic by knowing exactly how to handle light and values. And I bet that many people think the “right” way is a better way. But I can only do what I do, and I love doing it!

Me: How do you experience the competition in the “art world” (in your genre and at your level) in Sweden? Is it friendly with fellow artist helping and supporting each other or are there more of a hostile rivalry?

Emma: When I started thinking about becoming a full time painter I had to reach out to more experienced artists, and I was surprised by how helpful some of them have been. And some of them are still very supportive on social media, and I try to support them too. But I recently noticed that there are not many ”realism” painters supporting or following each other on social media. I think that might be a result of competition. I thought that it would be inspiring to see other peoples work, and I also like to support artists on social media as I know that it is important nowadays. But I got a little disappointed when other realism painters seemed to have no interest in supporting or even seeing my work. But I’m very happy to have a group of people around that I can call my ”co workers”. They inspire me, and I feel honored when I get to talk to people who are really good at what they do. I do not feel that other realism painters give me competition. Even though we all paint “reality”, we all have very unique styles and technics. We see the world in different ways and I think there is room for all of us.

Me: Have you made the “big breakthrough” yet as an artist?

Emma: No.. I have not really. When I started painting I was sooo pregnant, and then I stayed home with my youngest, and just when I said ”I’m gonna become an artist” the corona virus introduced itself to mankind. So I have only shown my art once, last summer when me and a ”co worker” had a one-day art show in a small garden. So I’m still a bit unknown. But I will keep on painting, going forward slow and steady, and when this pandemic is over I’m gonna have my big breakthrough, hopefully.

Me: What are your plans? Your ambition with your artistry, short and/or long term?

Emma: Right now I want to paint, every day. But I’m also looking around for possible collaboration with a gallery. My next goal is to have a real art show, indoors, where people could come to see my art for more than just one day, and for that to happen, you need a gallery to collaborate with. I also think it would be very good for me to start meeting people in the business, as all of this is still so new to me and I have a lot to learn. 

Me: Do you live on your craft or is it a side hustle?

Emma: I do paint for a living now, but I haven’t sold many pieces yet, because I want to show them to the world before I sell them. And as long as Corona is stopping art shows, I won’t sell them until I can have a vernissage. But the only reason I can think like that is because I’m married to a ”tech guy” who can provide for our family. I’m very lucky that way. And if not for him, I wouldn’t be able to paint every day. But I did sell a few paintings last summer, and it paid well. And I’ve also taken some art related commissions, so I don’t think that a future where I make a living on my art is that far away. I’m sure that day will come soon.

Me: How many hours do you spend an average week painting?

Emma: I paint for about 32 hours a week, as long as everyone is healthy and in school. I do not have a proper studio, and I paint next to the kids playing area. And there are no doors, so… It’s really amazing they haven’t ruined any of my paintings yet..

Me: Other than the obvious (perfecting the skills)…what advices can you give to new, inexperienced artists out there who want to make themselves “a name”?

Emma: First, you need to find a style or a technique, or something else that you love doing. Because you will have to do it a lot, and then it’s easier if you love doing it. I also think it helps surrounding yourself with things that makes it easier to visualize your goals or that inspires you to keep on creating. I also think you need to be stubborn. Get in touch with galleries, and take care of your fans on social media. And last but not least, it takes a little bit of luck. It is a difficult thing becoming a full time artist. But you should take control over the things that you can control, and with an open mind I think that the universe might push you into the right direction.

Me: Ask yourself an interesting question (and answer it to please);

Emma: How do we become happy?

By filling up our heads and hearts with knowledge, awareness and love. People tend to instead fill up their lives with stuff they do not need.

Me: If you want to you get to ask me a question (optional):

Emma: Do you think we will be able to stop climate change before we’we totally ruined this planet?

Me: I have a positive mindset (or try to have) in regards to almost anything. I have a strong belief in human capacity and ingenuity, her capability to solve problems, any problems. We have become so very technically advanced. I also have a strong belief in the strength of “mother nature”, natures ability to adapt and to find ways. With that said, This question is hard for me to answer and to maintain a somewhat “neutral political stance” as I aspire to have for all of my involvement in this blog. The subject of climate change has become a very heavily politicized matter. You easily can get a hateful bunch going after you with the hayforks if you don´t follow the “polittically correct” views in this matter. But, I wont totally censor my own thoughts in this matter either, so…my understanding is that the scientists are not all that united as have been portrayed in the “mainstream media”. According to some very well researched sources we might just have saved the world from becoming a giant snowball thank´s to our activity and outlets of carbondioxide. But the climate have probably much more to do with the sun and it´s activity (solar weather) than if we humans change the athmosphere with a few tenths parts per million (or even hundreths) in co2. I do believe that politicians use this “climate change” as propaganda to get people scared and thereby let them have it their way, i.e. collecting taxmoney and taking away freedoms/rights. With this said I absolutely do not say that we humans should not care for environmental issues. Quite the contrary, we should focus more on the environment and (what i think) real issues like the plastic mess in the oceans and the deforestation of the rainforests. Among other things. Sorry for the super long answer. One last thing, I respect other peoples opinions and thoughts in this and all other topics and I hope people can respect mine even if they don´t agree. I sense a lack of respect in todays society towards not only the opinions but towards people expressing their opinions. We must start to listen to each other and allow serious debate. That can only happen if the freedom to speak and write is very tolerant. It used to be a cornerstone in democracy.

Me: Where can we find your amazing artworks?

Emma: Right now you can find my art on my instagram

My facebook art page:

And my on my website: Hopefully also in a gallery in the future. Big thanks for letting me take part<3

Me: Thank you very much Emma!😊🙏 I wish you the best of luck and I know that you will get far. With your supertalent it will be very difficult to fail…I just can´t see how. All you have to do is keep on doing what you do. In my opinion you are one of (at least) Swedens brightest shining stars in your genre. No doubt!

Below are a few samples of Emmas work. Breathtaking, right?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s