”What’s it like to grow up with a father who is an artist?”
My father in the studio, panting from 1975.
is a question I have been asked many times. As if it was something very unusual. For me and my sister, and all other children of artists, it is of course something totally normal, the only experience we know of.
But of course, I can see there were big differences comparing to how my friends related to their fathers. When my daddy wasn’t teaching painting, he was at home, working in the studio or the graphic workshop. We could go there and talk with him whenever we wanted to. His work was nothing mystical that went on in an office or in a factory, but something very concrete that we could follow daily. He was there, and always gave his time to us children when we needed it.
As I grew older, another crucial difference became obvious. All the talk about getting a stable income and a secure job, that my friends always heard from their well-meaning parents, was nearly turned into its opposite. During all the years I took various courses in Lund, and couldn’t decide on which profession to choose, the gist of the discussions with my father on the issue was always the same. “So, you are thinking of becoming an archaeologist? Well, in that case you should start by developing your talent for drawing, and apply for the preparatory art school” “So, you are thinking of becoming an architect? Well, but then you will have use for developing your talent for drawing and painting. So apply for the preparatory art school”, “So, you are thinking of becoming a silver smith. But then you will have to develop your sense for shape. You should apply for the preparatory art school”…
To have a talent and throw it away is something daddy takes seriously. If you have a talent, you should take care of it and foster it. So what can one do, having been exposed to such a massive indoctrination since birth? One becomes an artist!
Pernilla Hägg Nordström