Scan Magazine, Issue 108, January 2018

Page 82









Portrait of a portrait artist Roughly 12 years ago, Lill Thelin quit her job as a commercial designer to become a full-time artist. “I was tired of being restrained to certain types of art and images,” Thelin recalls. “So I just decided to make a change. Looking back, it was quite a risk, but I was completely sure that I wanted to develop myself freely as an artist.” By Louise Older Steffensen  |  Photos: Lill Thelin

Luckily, things worked out well for Thelin, who has developed her own colourful style of portraits. “I can see that I’ve become much more free and playful over the years,” she explains. “Working in advertising, you have to be exact and graphic in your style, and that took me a long time to unlearn. Now, I love to mess around with colours and shapes and see where they take me!” This worked especially well for her portraits, and nowadays, mature, bearded men feature prominently in her portfolio; her explosive colours playing with the sitters’ quiet, contemplative poses. “There are plenty of paintings of perfect and beautiful young women out there. I love to paint someone who has lived and to tease out all the details in their wrinkles and the depth of their char82  |  Issue 108  |  January 2018

acter. And women don’t tend to have full beards, which are very enjoyable to paint,” she smiles. “As I painted these people, I would notice that their hands kept creeping in on the paintings and seeking my attention more and more. There’s just so much life and expression in them,” says Thelin, who shares a studio with a group of other artists in Horsens, Denmark. “One of my friends here happens to have some lovely, lively, wrinkly hands, so I gave in and asked him to model his hands for me. I ended up painting this long, exciting portrait series of hands interacting with other hands, with faces and with the viewer.” Thelin will exhibit these hand portraits at the CPH Art Space in the spring,

while more of her work can be found online and at Galleri Habsø, where many of her paintings of knots can also be viewed. “When walking on the beach one day, I spotted this discarded bit of rope, and I realised that what I really like in my portrait subjects and hands is that same complex, frayed, expressive intricacy that this knot had,” Thelin explains. “They’re expressive, but like the hands and faces, they say different things to different people. I think these knots tie together – if you’ll excuse the pun – my painting projects really well.”

Lill Thelin. Photo: Jannik Kim Iversen

Web: Facebook: LillThelinArt Instagram: @lillthelin

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