It’s not about his art, it’s about his heart – Daniel Karlsson

By Kai Teo


Event: Art exhibition
Title: None
Venue: Galleri Ocampo, Claesgatan 8, Mitt Möllan, Malmö
Date: 5 April to 10 May ‘14

Art exhibitions have always been highly viewed with scepticism, and cluelessness, by many of us at Buddha Mag. We’ve no formal training in art, know absolutely jack shit about painting techniques and forms, and I sometimes have difficulty telling apart red from orange.

So of course, when we’re invited to an art exhibition, we’re usually one of those people who go on a rampage on the free alcohol and when asked about our opinion on what the art means, our default answers vary within the wide spectrum between “Nice” and “I like it”.

This one was no different. I stood in front of the paintings, stroked my chin, and nodded slowly, with my hands crossed behind my back, taking artfully, painfully slow steps around the gallery, pretending that I was there for a higher purpose than just devouring the free beers that were being served. At least I knew I could never come up with paintings like that, even if I sold my cheap soul to the devil.

There was no unifying theme, no standard style, and no noticeable common painting technique. Or at least, my ignorant eyes couldn’t tell. But what I saw was something that many would never have realised:

His heart, and his soul.

Well, yea. See? We’re pretty deep people. In any case, it was what we saw in the exhibition. We’ve nothing to say about the colours used, no comments about the paint strokes, and are kinda tongue tied when it comes to the subjects.

But what the exhibition showed us, was an artist’s struggle, his never-ending strive towards the perfection of his own craft, the setbacks that he has gone through, the kinda shit he has to take from pretentious ‘art people’ telling him that his shit wasn’t good enough, the countless times he was rejected from exhibiting his work, the numerous paintings that he had thrown away because he thought they weren’t good enough for public eyes. You know, all that pain that you’d never see from the white washed walls and spotlight lit canvasses hung on them.

This exhibition was Daniel’s little milestone, his small triumph against the little bitch we call life, and a powerful confirmation of his own worth as an artist.

All those hours spent behind the canvas, all the grit he has garnered to finish all that work, and all the times he has overcome rejection – They have all culminated to this – A simple, no frills, unpretentious exhibition. 

No one knew that he transported all those huge paintings by himself, on old rickety baby prams, struggling under the cold, relentless, pouring rain. No one saw how hard he had to fight to make sure he could get this location just to show his work to our eyes. No one really understood how much work was put in just to organise this event without any formal support.

All these, just so that chin stroking hipsters could come to nod at his art pieces, and maybe say that they could do better using triangles and cats.

“I’m happy enough just to see people here,” remarked Daniel humbly.

Now that, my friends, is what we call HEART. Yes, in capital fucking letters. It’s a declaration of the dedication to his own philosophy, and a statement against the farce of the art world. This man asks for no fame or fortune. All he wants is for us to look at his work.

So instead of binge drinking your way through the weekend, make your way to Galleri Ocampo at Mitt Möllan, look beyond the colours on the canvas, and give recognition to the lion heart of Daniel Karlsson.