This issue I had the absolute and utter pleasure of meeting dashing local artist Niklas Amundson in his fabulous penthouse apartment and art studio in El Terreno. The 180 degree views of the local area and over as far as the cathedral, mean that it’s not surprising that an artist with a definite love of the sea lives here.
Niklas’s art adorns the walls and this is essentially the reason for why it all began. A native of Sweden, Niklas began sketching at an early age, but only moved onto oils in his 20s and the reason was that he wanted to hang big paintings of ships and the sea but just couldn’t find what he wanted. Not one to be put off, instead of giving up his search he decided instead to try his hand at painting them himself. He has no classical training, but said that his father was an avid painter, so it would appear the creative genes are strong in the Amunson family, as what he discovered was that he was really rather good at it!
So good in fact that a Swedish local quickly bought up three of his early works and Niklas realised that others also shared his passion for dramatic seas and classic boats. At that time Niklas was working full time for the Swedish Coastguard, roaming the sea along with his crew. In fact 30 years on and Niklas is still part of the coastguard team, although he is now on half time spending ten days a month at sea and splitting his life between the unforgiving North Sea and the calm turquoise of the Mediterranean.
In fact the split can be seen in the changes in his art itself. The colours and style are changing. Gone are the ragings seas, although I think these will always be a part of his repertoire, but now there is a more contemporary feel to his new collection which started with a poster of a beloved cafe of his in his hometown of Marstrand, the sailing Mecca of Sweden. WEll it is for two months a year he says with a wry smile. The piece is of a cafe off the beaten track, but a firm favourite of locals. It is now immortalised in paint. He has begun to extend this new collection to Balearics now as well. In fact one of my favourites is the painting of Hostal Cuba, a firm favourite of Palma locals, that you can see within these pages.
But you shouldn’t take my word for how fantastic these works of art are, instead you can take it from the actions of others. His art was so loved by the yachting community at the that for King Harald of Norway’s 80th birthday Niklas was commissioned to create a masterpiece of his boat Sira, which he then had the opportunity to present. In fact, King Harald, still an avid sailor was in Palma at the time of the interview and Niklas had been chatting to him in the yacht club that very morning.
Niklas has presented his works twice at the annual exhibition of The Royal Society of Marine Artists. His first participation was at the RSMA’s 55th annual exhibition held at the Mall Galleries in London in 1999. He has been the official artist for the maiden voyage of the ship Götheborg, a replica of an 18th century Swedish East Indiaman, sailing from Sweden to China and back. He has also made the official works of art for the Volvo Ocean Race 2005—2006 and 2008—2009. Niklas is represented at The Oceanographic Museum in Monaco where he once lived, with the commissioned work for The Polar Expedition 1906—2006. He is also to be found on board the Royal Danish ship Dannebrogen and at The Yacht Club de Monaco.
Niklas came to the attention of this magazine when one of his pieces was presented as a prize at Palma Vela where he was the official artist. The winning boat, helmed by Thomas Rudewald, was presented with the painting and Tommi was so impressed that he has gone on to purchase several more pieces of Niklas’ work.
One of his other intriguing collections are the flags or The Gallery of National Symbols. All are painted on sails and have the words to the national anthem of the country or yacht club in the background. The medium of using sails make the flags look like they are alive on the canvas. In fact the Russian flag was commissioned and a sail from a famous old Russian sailboat was delivered on which to paint it before being delivered back to St Petersburg.
I obviously couldn’t leave the interview without asking the obvious piece of string question. How long does it take? As expected there is no finite answer to this question, but as some of the pieces can have as many as twenty layers, each of which takes two to three days to dry, one painting alone can take up to four months to create. I ask if he works on more than one piece at a time and he says no. There needs to be enough time left for going to the beach to drink a beer or two. It seems like a very sensible course of action.
Mallorca and Palma are very lucky to have such a talented artist turning our iconic island and its beautiful architecture and scenery into immortal pieces of artwork.
+46 (0)704 865 852