Jorunn Mulen Interview

Posted by Kim Soep on

Jorunn Mulen is a painter living and working in Bergen, Norway. With a MA in Illustration & Authorial Practice from Falmouth College of Art, UK, Jorunn's visual narratives are concerned with persona and the complex stories, secrets and histories that manifest on the surface. Showing her work in London, LA, Tokyo and across Italy, Jorunn has received worldwide recognition for her alluring portraiture. To learn more about her artistic practice and the inspiration behind her work, I asked her the following questions.......

Kim: What draws you to portraiture?

Jorunn: Everything from a serendipitous encounter to a love story; from verses in a poem or lines in a song. People are at the heart of all my work. They posess stories that unfurl, beguile and elude. Like a glance or mannerism, I am interested in human expression. Eyes are particularly interesting to me, I see them as the gateway to the soul.

three new paintings by Jorunn Mulen

Kim: Can you explain your affinity with pastel colours?

Jorunn: I find pastel colours very soothing and calming to work with. The symphony between duck egg blue and pastel pink is a colour blend that really sings to me. Like peony petals against a blue sky at dusk, or a Rococo mural, there’s something majestic about this palette. I also really like using these soft pastel tones to blend, layer and obscure. This type of mark-making alludes to the veneer, the nuances and the many personas I pick up on as I paint my portraits.

Jorunn Mulen - detail shot of painting Jorunn Mulen - shot of her studio in Bergen

Kim: Can you talk about your exhibition 'Will I ever have enough blood to make your dreams blush' and the inspiration behind it?

Jorunn: ‘Will I ever have enough blood to make your dreams blush’ presents a body of work inspired by my French friend Daniele Noel Roux, an artist, former model and film actress. I met Daniele in the tiny medieval village of Apricale, Italy, during one of my many artist residencies there. Inviting me into a world of French and Italian glamour, whereby I've stayed at a number of Daniele's residences, including her husband’s family’s hotel La Colombe d’Or in Provence, France, where the likes of Picasso, Matisse, Braque, and Calder spent time, and subsequently now houses an incredible art collection of works by these very artists. These beautiful and historical backdrops, together with Daniele’s joie de vivre have been great sources of inspiration. Drawing on love letters, photographs and anecdotes of a love affair Daniele had as a young woman, my paintings tell a story of romance, heartbreak and nostalgia.

Jorunn Mulen - sources of inspiration: old photographs, little trinkets and sketches

Kim: Who and what are your main sources of inspiration?

Jorunn: Music, love, encounters, journeys, italian movies and vintage treasures.  My artistic and bohemian friends like Daniele Noel Roux. 

Kim: If money was no object and you could have any artwork on your wall, what would it be and why?

Jorunn: I would choose ‘Girl with a pearl earring’ by Vermeer.  I find it immensely beautiful and I love the story behind it. Ideally, I´d have a collection of these next to her: ‘Sky Study’ by Turner, a Venice cityscape by Monet, and a portrait by Picasso from the blue & rose period. Because I find these artworks beautiful, calming and inspiring.

Kim: And lastly, how did you find lockdown?

Jorunn: Lockdown actually happened to become a very productive time for me. I am used to working in solitude, and I really enjoy my quiet studio space. Despite not making my annual spring trip to Italy, I haven’t been short of inspiration. My morning walks up a local mountain, which for many years have been part of my daily routine, help me focus and awaken my senses. I miss my trips abroad, not only do they offer me with a change of scenery but they motivate me with new ideas. On the other hand, I feel lucky that my imagination knows no bounds and that I am able to escape into my paintings.

Jorunn Mulen- sources of inspiration books of poetry and botany



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