Interview with Paal Bugen
O-A: What is art to you? Is creating an urge, necessity or maybe an incontournable, essential way of life?
Paal Bugen: I have made art since I was a child and my grandmother bought oil paints and canvases to me to keep me busy. My production really increased after I god divorced and had to stay at home with my two children in the evenings. It all picked up after 9-11, when I had arranged some meetings in New York in Twin Towers the following week. I was head of equities in a large bank, and should meet with Cantor Fitzgerald. They lost 650 employees, and when thinking about it, I needed some pain-relief, and started painting again. The 9-11 painting is posted on my Instagram-site as a quiet beach with 2 birds flying over and into two trees. After that, I always wrote the Dow Jones Index in my paintings the day I finished it. And it has picked up to a production of many 100 paintings. I now work as an investor, and use painting as a therapy. I need to create.
O-A: Who or what inspired you artistically; a person, artist, event, experience…
Paal Bugen: The first series I created, over many years, I just call “A brief story of the DOW JONES INDEX. I was expressing things that I know, but art academy know nothing about. Extreme complexity, like when I write down the algorithms that run the stock market in a painting. My daughter wanted a painting of a giraffe. That was a littlebit to uncomplicated for me, so in the yellow savannah I write down a lot of the basic mathematics behind the VWAP-algorithm, targeting trading at the periods Volume Weighted Average Price for a stock. You will see it on Instagram if you zoom in. In other paintings, I write down the algorithms that try to exploit trading intraday, by reading patterns in the market, or acting quicker than others can. I have borrowed them to stockbrokers that love them. In the Planck Time -43-painting. I was thinking: What’s the most complex topic I can imagine except woman? And for me that was Max Plancks compression of Universe before big bang down to the size of a tennisball. And for me the only thing that could have ignited Big Bang, is a change in the center of gravity. The blast should have overgone the speed of light C^5. So Einstein is not totally right when he claims that C is the highest possible speed. In other pieces I write down the mathematics that changed the world. And it started with the 10-figure system. Via the logarithms that enabled the calculations to take minutes instead of weeks. In one painting I question if it is a flaw in western mathematics that the square root of 9 also is -3. But its a established definition, since someone wanted the order of the factors to give the same result. Which nature or life otherwise never give you. The order of the factors are normally everything. Most of the Dow Jones-series is inspired by the setup of CNBCs business-news, with red newsflashes in the painting, and have at least 5-6 subjects at once. So you get addicted to it and always find something new in it.
O-A: How has your art changed over time? Why?
Paal Bugen: Another series I made during this years shutdown, I just call Heaven and Hell. I try to make the pain(thing) change, and don’t write so much text in them. On Covid distance 5 meters you see Marilyn, but when you come closer, you see something totally different. I made Sympathy for the devil, Dancing for the Devils, Portraits from Hell, The Caveman, The abyss and 10-15 other in this series so far. You see a lot of faces in the paintings. A lot of tormented souls, trying to talk to you about their pain. Which I believe is plentiful these days, but people are proud and carry on. I take some of the subjects back to the antique, wit Apollo and Daphne or The death of Drusilla (Caligulas pregnant sister), Maria Magdalena and other history-themes. I have made some prints of these paintings that I sell.
O-A: What do you usually talk about with your collectors?
Paal Bugen: Many of my followers say they have never seen anything like what I make. And when I explain to them the story behind they find it even more interesting. Like The return of Elvis, which is based on a bookmaker-bet in London, where he gave the odds for The return of Elvis together with Virgin Mary in a UFO and crashing into the head of the Loc Ness Sea-monster. Just to say that my subjects are not always so serious. We must allow some humor and laugh into what we do. The Press Play is also about use of Internet.
But now I have to run to buy some canvases and vine for the weekend. Wonder what comes out of it? I will keep you posted on Facebook/Paal Bugen and Instagram #paalbugen.
Interview with Paal Bugen