art: a devotion, a job, a mission?
what drives a person to make art in this day and age.
why does a brushstroke, a line, exert such power over artists today that they devote their whole lives to it and are willing to hurl themselves into the abyss? why are we haunted by the line, by colour. how do they manage, without ever asking, to make us take risks as fearlessly as if someone had drugged us?
does something happen in a person’s life that makes him or her an artist? or are artists simply born artists? if there is a trigger, what kind of trigger is it?
the father, stig, was born in 1930. he grew up an only child, lived deep in the swedish woods. his parents: father, a tunnel blaster, mother, a housewife. when he turned 14, his father told him: you’ve been in school long enough. now it’s time for you to work. and so stig left school and became a flower seller.
when he was 15, he won a prize for a short story he had written. the local press reported on his triumph and the event revealed a talent in him that would become of great importance to his career from there on in.
at 17, he was called up for national service and spent a year shivering in the swedish woods with other young men. no running water, no heating, no toilets.
this, he would later tell his children, was when it happened: one night, on the banks of a lake, he heard the voice of jesus. shortly after that, he left home for good and, now 19, joined an auxiliary squad bringing food and clothing to german refugees in schleswig-holstein. it was here that he began visiting religious seminars and became acquainted with god’s vocabulary.
he had found his life’s calling. he became a missionary and began spreading god’s word. his gift for storytelling made him an instant success and his parish sent him to do missionary work in france. yet the words were only his tools; the mission was his body and soul.
the mother, ase, had a very different upbringing. her father was a famous banjo player in the restaurants and bars of oslo. as for the grandmother, the information only begins in the final years of her life, when she was living in a home. but she was, by all accounts, filled with a great energy for life. ase was the first born, arriving in 1931.
ase had two brothers: a sailor and a dynamic, highly driven genius, from whom komisario x-bin appears to have inherited a great deal. much to his dismay, both brothers died very young, when they were around 30, and aside from what he learned from his mother’s stories, komisario never really knew them. ase’s sister, komisario’s aunt, was a pretty norwegian who married a wealthy lebanese man at 20 and disappeared to the far east. his mother, ase, was an enfant terrible at heart. how else was she to rebel against her liberal, unconventional family but to become a servant of god? she joined the salvation army and met stig, her future husband. when he left for his missionary posting in france, she went with him.