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Meet Linnea Strid

Today we’d like to introduce you to Linnea Strid.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born in 1983 in a small Swedish village, I was the only child and grew up with parents who always encouraged everything creative and art-related. My parents gave me my first crayons at the age of two and it was instant love. From that point, I would draw and paint all the time – and on all surfaces. Yes, that includes the walls in our home (This was not encouraged however). I knew that my goal was to work as an artist full time one day. Because why would I want to spend my days doing anything else than dedicating it to my biggest passion in life?

I started showing my art in galleries when I was 16 and living in the South of Spain. Art and galleries were available for everyone to see, buy and potentially join in by exhibiting. Art galleries can often feel like a special club for the privileged few but this was nothing like that. You didn’t have to have a fancy degree, all that mattered was the passion and drive and galleries would pretty much welcome you with open arms. This is also how I got to learn how gallery business worked from a very young age and I ended up having my first solo show at the age of 19.

A few years later, I decided to move back to Sweden and learned that art can have quite a different status in different places. I continued showing my work in galleries all over the country but without the art degree there, people don’t really take you seriously. Also, most people in Sweden aren’t as keen on making a big investment like buying a painting.

As soon as social networks online became a thing around 2005-2007, I started promoting myself on different artist platforms, such as Deviant art and Flickr and got a bit of success on there. This was before Instagram and Facebook and there was actually a fair opportunity for anyone to be seen and heard on the internet.

As a result from my online presence, I was contacted in 2009 by a university in Chicago who wanted to show my work, and shortly after I got an email from the Thinkspace Gallery (now called Thinkspace Projects) in Culver City in West LA, wanting to represent me. This was the point in my career when things started to get serious for me and I was able to earn a living just selling my artworks. Basically, my lifelong dream came true. In 2016 after going through a profound personal crisis I decided I didn’t want to be represented by a gallery and be more “free” in the aspect of being able to show my work wherever I wanted when I wanted, and I have mainly been showing my paintings in different galleries in LA and the US West Coast ever since.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I guess one of the struggles would have to be the lack of an art degree. I did apply to different art colleges back in the day but none of them would have me. Maybe because I already had a very determined view on my art and what I wanted to do. So I don’t know if going to school would’ve been very productive for me in the first place. Who knows. But this obviously closed a few doors for me in Sweden, and the feeling of rejection and not being good enough was tormenting me for a long time. It was a huge blow to my self-esteem. I didn’t feel worthy of calling myself an artist because of this, despite making money off of it and having my art hung in galleries and museums all over the world.

But besides from this, I feel incredibly blessed. I’ve gotten tons of support from my parents, and the internet has made things that felt impossible possible. Despite the saturation of art in social media these days, it’s truly a great time to be an artist. People on the other side of the planet are able to see and connect with something you sit and work on in your little home studio. It’s kind of amazing.

Please tell us more about your art.
I am a fine artist who likes do a little bit of everything but mostly I enjoy to paint, and I’m specialized and known for my photorealistic oil paintings. My subject matter for over a decade now has been shower portraits and water in all its shapes and forms.

Realism has always come naturally for me since I love working for several hours a day with tiny details. I’m obsessed with getting reflections, light and shadows just right and water is an endless source of inspiration since it is always changing and yet it’s always exactly the same. I enjoy combining water with portraits because there’s a vulnerability that gets amplified with the water flowing over the face and other body parts. There’s something very honest and raw about our interaction with water and I enjoy exploring our emotions in combination with this element that will give us life, whereas it can also just as easily take it from us.

I draw inspiration from my own life and experiences, I use my own sorrows and grief but also delights and pleasures and I pour it into my paintings. This is a reason why I will never get tired of making art or feel the need to move on to something else. My job – my art – is me.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
When I had my second child a year ago, I decided to make some changes in how I run my business as an artist. Right now, I just really want to be able to have time to focus on my baby/toddler and enjoy this very special time, but also to be able to keep working as an artist. So I am currently doing mostly small, affordable works (because I feel that art should be for everyone, not just the very rich) both for my own online shop and also for the galleries that I work with. I had already put these plans in motion and then the pandemic hit and with most people struggling right now, this seems more right than ever. And so far it has been working out pretty well. I will keep doing this for a year or so, and after that, who knows? Life has a crazy way of showing up with new challenges and opportunities thrown at us. We just gotta do our best to adapt and make it work in our favor.

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