Interview with a storyteller

So, how did you end up as a storyteller?“.

This is the point  I either dream up a fantastic story of glory or just tell you what I remember and think about it. I’ll save the fairy tales for “tales of..“.

I can remember from my days at school, I hated all kinds of performances, feared it and I never participated in the school plays. But somewhere along the path this fright headed out the back door. I think it was when I was 12 years old. I started playing RPGs and found great pleasure in being both a player and a game master. I started making elaborate story lines and played with my friends many hours every week. This was just the beginning, for after RPGs came LARP and LARP sparked an interest in theatre, acting and storytelling, which in turn sent me onwards to take one year of theatre school, at one of our famous Folk High Schools. This of course strengthened my path to become a performance artist. After that year I acted in small underground plays, in commercials, children’s TV-series and played a lot of musical concerts with various bands and projects. For the most part the storytelling was nothing but a hobby, telling a few stories at parties, festivals or just late evenings with friends. Now, nearly ten years later it has finally become my job. I no longer need extra jobs to keep the wheels running, nothing that usurps my inspirational energy, just me and my stories.

But when I look back to the life I have lived, I can see that I have been quite a different life from what my friends have. I have been living on less money a year than some of my friends earn in a few months, and still I am on a very low budget. One good reason why I finally managed to climb the hill of professionals is that I have been saving a lot of money by living as cheap as possible. I lived for two years with my grand mother, it was a win-win situation. She got some one too look after her, go shopping, making food and of course to keep her company. I on the other hand got to know her better than ever before and I got free food and living. Before and after that I have lived in various cheap collective apartments. Sometimes having only 3 square meters for my self. As a storyteller I have been lucky, because I don’t need much space to practice, but a band or a painter will need that extra room. Rooms are expensive too. And to be clear about it:

“Art and luxury has little in common”.

I have never had the newest technology and rarely had enough money to  buy my friends round after round with beer.

It basically comes down to economy, time and energy. To be a young and aspiring artist of any kind of art is like being doomed to be poor and having little spare time. For while doing art you also need a job on the side. In the beginning it is rather opposite, you are working but doing some art on the side. The main problem can be formulated like this:

“If you work too much you don’t have enough energy to do art, but if you do too much art you will probably not have enough money to pay your rent.”

I have been working in a kinder garden alongside being an artist for somewhat 10 years. Now i don’t have to do that any more. But still i live on a very low budged. 1/3 or less of what people generally earn in this rich country.

Not having to rely on a normal job has given me a huge amount of hours free to do art and I try to spend them well. My favourite activity is to extend my knowledge of  art, culture and nature, or actually just the process of learning any thing, that I consider worth learning. This thirst for knowledge has also been one of my major “engines” that has made it possible for me to do what I do. I might not have lots of official education, but I have educated my self, created my own school of life by reading, experimenting, travelling and learning from friends and family.

To sum it all up I can safely say that the secret is to cut down on all costs, educate your self and never give up, but..

“I would not have gotten there, without all the support from my family and friends.”

If you want to become an artist you will need a lot of help from a lot of friends. Friends that can buy you a beer every now and then. That can lend you a bed when you have nowhere to live. That can teach you and learn from you. That can inspire you and make art with you.


Photos were taken by Elin K. Nilsen.

Political rant: Argh, they are doing it again..

For ten years the Hausmania has been a place for aspiring artists in Oslo. Offering cheap rooms for any kinds of art, ranging from music to painting and scupture. The place has been run by volunteers since the building was occupied ten years ago. Now the city council of oslo have decided to throw them out on the street. This is not the first time that the devil of city planning Bård Folke Fredriksen is trying to make life hard for poor artist in the capital of Norway. In year 2000 he tried to sell off all the buildings where alternative artist had their workplaces. He said that these buildings did not generate enough income. but we fought a hard and long political battle and saved atleast some of the buildings. When will this capitalist monster ever leave us  poor artist alone?

I remember back then, Bård Folke Fredriksen lost when the city council were voting on the petition to throw out all the artist and sell the buildings. We were there at the meting, he saw us. The next day my band Ehwaz was hired to open the 1000 years celebration festival, and guess who was there, giving a speach on how the multitude of culture in Oslo made it possible to make a festival like this..? Yes, it was the devils council member him self. This man is a danger to culture and art in Oslo!

When it comes to Hausmania, they have been struggling for their survival since the beginning. They have made deals with the city council and have got permission to stay. But now the beast of right wing politics wants to build Student apartments.. Well, a good idea to build those, but can you not find an other place for those apartments? or is it something else behind all this. My theory is that Bård Folke Fredriksen hates art and artist. To him they are filthy and non productive and by that shall be condemned to do their art on the streets. May be he got denied a place in art school, like an other famous monster? and then he entered politicts to get his revenge?

Oslo already spend next to nothing to help young and aspiring artist, there are no places for us to do our arts. Every time someone tries to set up a place, Bård “Trillebård” Folke Fredriksen comes to tear the place down. It seems that artists in Oslo have to struggle so much to keep their places, that they do not have time do do any art. What to do?