A returning favorite
Foto: P-A Nilsson
Two years have gone since the last time she hung her art on our walls, and Persefoni is back for round two. This time she has brought a great balance between contrasting colors, powerful portraits of women and emotion. After studying building engineering and architecture, Persefoni has made a name for herself within the Stockholm art world. With a name inspired by Greek mythology, it’s no wonder she has gravitated towards art, much like the Greeks themselves did. In the stories Persefoni was a goddess who was abducted by Hades, the lord of the Underworld . She was only allowed to return for parts of the year. When she returned she brought the changing of seasons – winter and spring. It seems almost too perfect that the artist of the month, Persefoni, is hanging her work on our walls as we shift in to the coming winter season.
You’ve been here before, what’s changed since you were last here?
Yes, now it’s been exactly two years since I was here last. Time flies! What’s changed since then? Quite a lot, thank goodness! If you don’t develop and change then there’s probably something wrong. I’ve traveled a lot since before been inspired by colors and shapes. I’ve been inspired by graffiti and street art. Maybe not in the techniques used but the color choices. I’m probably a little more braver in my art now. But still, it’s a process and I believe you’re never really finished learning.
Tell us a little about the work you will be putting up this time.
This time you’ll be seeing a mix of both older and new work. Maybe you’ll notice a development through the works themselves. I’ll leave that up to the viewer. Along with my originals here I also have some fine art prints as well.
You said that art is important for your soul and it’s a personal journey for you. Have you ever used your art to voice your opinions on social issues or injustices that go on around the world?
I’ve contributed my work to Tilita’s Organization for Women. They hosted a great art vernissage with a lot of artists. You can read more about them on their website, http://talita.se/
Have you ever done art while traveling or gotten inspiration from being abroad?
I’m inspired by everything. I love travelling and can get inspired by a marketplace, colors of buildings, an old wooden door or even food. I take in everything from my travels and process it. After a month or months I may get a feeling or impression from something and then work with it. During my trips im usually just sketching in my sketchbook.
Nothing says Christmas in Sweden more than short days, snow and “julbord”.
Julbord in Sweden is an age old tradition that stems back from around the 10th century when Christianity arrived in Sweden. As you can see in the picture above, taken from a julbord at a Swedish home, it’s basically a smorgasbord, or spread, of different meats, fish and vegetables. Although it may seem like a regular spread of foods, to your typical Swede it’s not. Julbord may vary from each region within the country but it has it’s few staples. Here are a few key dishes that are vital to the Swedish julbord, each with some history behind them.
If you still haven’t booked your table to experience the Swedish julbord experience at the highest restaurant and bar in town, don’t hesitate to call us on 08 667 21 80 or book online if you’re less than 10 people. If you’re more than 10 then we’ll have to call us to make the booking over the phone. The seats are filling up so get on those phones! More information about prices and times can be found in both English and Swedish.
Pickled herring was once a food for the lower class folk of old-time Sweden. Today however, the Swedes like to call it “traditional”. Pickled foods were an easy way to store perishables during a long winter or on a long journey. It allowed people to buy stuff in bulk (always cheaper) and keep it from spoiling for weeks or even months. Herring is usually pickled, in a mustard sauce or sometimes even in sherry.
Gravlax is salmon prepared by curing. This dish is an age old traditional one, with it starting out in the middle ages as a way of preserving the fish. Fisherman would bury portions of their catch below the tide line in the sand and let it ferment. Later during the year they’d dig it up and enjoy it as a delicacy. Luckily for us, the recipe has changed a little over the years. The fish is now cured in a mix of sugar, salt and dill and leaves quite an good taste on the palate. It’s commonly served as an appetizer paired with a mustard based sauce known as “hovmästarsås” and either toast or boiled potatoes.
Christmas ham is another staple to the Swedish Christmas buffet and often stars as the centerpiece of the Christmas buffet. The ham is baked, sliced and then served. The drippings are used as a dip for bread, which is another part of the julbord in itself. In the past most people only ate salted meats because they held their freshness the longest. A few animals were kept for julbord and a lot of the times it was the opportunity commoners could eat fresh meat all year.
Janssons frestelse, or Jansson’s temptation, is another common dish served at the Swedish julbord. It’s a creamy potato casserole that’s baked with sprat, anchovies or small herring inside giving it a unique taste.
Ris á la Malta is a rice based dessert that you’ll most likely find at julbord. It’s made from cold rice, cream, sugar and vanilla or cinnamon. Often served cold, it goes together most often with a jam or berry based sauce.
Alongside the ham and the pickled fish you’ll find plenty of other options including but not limited to breads, cheeses, beetroot salad, cabbage, different types of fish, countless variations of potato dishes, sausages and meatballs, roasted meats and at times even poultry.
With the classic food groups out of the way, that leaves us with arguably the most important part of Swedish julbord – glögg. Glögg is mulled wine that’s spiced with either fruits, spices or a combination of both. This type of glögg is known specifically as vinglögg. Another kind of glögg that’s popular at julbord is spritglögg. It’s made from cognac or a type of brännvin (brennivin) and spiced with all kinds of things from cinnamon to ginger and even peppercorns! If neither of these glögg-drinks sound appealing you can even try making your own by heating red wine with some spices and spiking it with something a little stronger if you want to.
If you’ve been assigned as the designated driver for the evening or just aren’t a fan of booze, julmust is the alcohol free alternative that’s most popular among Swedes. Some 45 million liters of julmust are sold and drank during the Christmas season alone and this counts for 75% of the sales throughout the year. This has such a huge impact on the drink market in Sweden that Coca Cola sales drop by 50% for the months of November and December. This soda drink is very popular and sold during the festive season and Easter time as well. The exact recipe is supposedly not very well known, basically a secret with only one company holding the exact recipe. They sell their syrups to several other companies, including Coca Cola who tried their own version a few years ago but didn’t see much of a success. Despite the secretive nature of the drink, the main components are known and they are carbonated water, hops and malt.
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.