Artist of the Month – Sofia Toborg
Bringing magical colors to your walls!
Drawing inspiration from both fantasy and the real world, a few years back Sofia Toborg brings bright colors and an unorthodox style to the art room. Sofia taught kids Swedish, English and Social Sciences but after a while burnt out. She then quit her job as a teacher and pursued art instead. Today she works part time as an artist using mostly acrylics but also spray paint and inks from time to time. Over the years she’s even designed some textiles and handbags too which can all be viewed on her website and even bought online from her web shop.
When did you know that you wanted to become an artist?
To really try and do it more than a hobby it was about three years ago. Before that I felt as though I just painted for fun. My mom used to tell me that when I went to daycare the teachers had to take all the crayons away from me and do other things because I was always drawing or painting, I loved it. Later in 8th or 9th grade when we started getting graded on our art my art teacher made me feel bad about my art, so I didn’t want to show my work anymore or apply to any art schools. Years later in 2005 I found an art class that you didn’t have to show your work to apply for, so I did. There I met an art teacher who said I had great technique and talent and told me to pursue my art. From then on I went to Folkuniversitetet for art courses, joined an art club in Tyresö and did a few exhibitions.
How did you develop your style as an artist?
I’ve always painted with strong colors, it’s just me. If I paint a portrait someone may ask me “oh does your son really have that blue eyes?” and I would reply “no, he doesn’t I just like it”. I’ll usually just put the canvas on the ground, pour the paint and start scraping it and see what happens. I’ve developed my style by myself by playing with different techniques and trying not to decide what the picture will look like from the beginning but just being free and letting it flow. I don’t want my art to look exactly how things look in the real world, it should be more free just like I want to be free. If you want it to look like it should then you can just take a picture.
What’s with the little woman in all of your Stockholm paintings?
It started with an exhibition I had about a year ago, Stockholm i Mitt Hjärta. I love the old colorful buildings around Stockholm and had a piece called “Stortorget”. I thought it would be fun to have this magical woman just flying by. There’s another one called “Sassy” which is of a woman kickboxing, that’s when I actually realized this little woman looks a lot like me, except that she has purple hair. So it’s a symbol of me in my paintings.
Why do you believe art is important?
It’s important for both me and society – it’s a way for people to either express yourself or feel something. There’s some artists out there who have amazing skill but their work doesn’t make you feel anything, it’s just a picture. Art should make you feel something. I had an exhibition in September and it was about love. I remember that I woke up in the middle of the night after having a dream that Trump had won the election – but I knew it was just a dream so that it wasn’t real and he hadn’t won. Later that morning I saw that he did actually win. After Trump won the election I felt like I needed to express myself through my art, that the world isn’t really good right now. I have a painting called “United”, it’s a muslim woman and a Swedish woman. I just needed to spread love, not hate, taking care of each other and helping out.
Which artists inspire you and why?
I paint a lot from the inside and from what inspires me. I look up to Lisa Rinnevon and get a lot of inspiration from her but also Peter Therin, then I follow a few on Instagram too. I’ve always been inspired by graffiti artists as well. Back in the 80’s as a kid we collected “graffiti cards”, they’re sort of like Pokemon cards. I tried it a few times but was always afraid to get caught so that wasn’t really my thing. Barcelona is also a really inspiring place because of all the beautiful buildings with Gaudi sort of how it has no real rules. It’s both amazing and crazy at the same time.