year of birth: 1983
Q1: When did you start making art?
I don’t call it art but.. It’s hard to say, but it was in 2002 that I bought a cheap point-and-shoot digital camera to see if I could do some “straight” photography, but I quickly began to play with Photoshop. I didn’t have any ambition or particular interest in it back then, so I made very little, until 2004/2005, when I decided I was gonna go for this. So I think 2004/2005 is when I really “started”.
Q2: What does inspire you?
The whole of existence. It’s hard to know what comes from where, but philosophy is a big part of what shapes my views about everything, and my views on or struggle with existential questions transforms into visual ideas for my images.
Q3: What are your techniques?
I use a camera and lighting equipment to capture all the objects, textures or surroundings I need, and piece it together in Photoshop. I think my editing techniques are rather basic, but the number of layers and smart objects usually end up in the several hundreds.
Q4: What is the main idea or feeling behind your works?
The weaknesses of humanity and the overcoming of those weaknesses. Things like irrationality, mortality, propensity for self deception and being slaves to social dogma. Being interested in transhumanism I view humanity as half monkey and half something much more interesting, and I want to get rid of the monkey part. I think technology will continue developing faster and faster, and that eventually we can use that to improve ourselves if we want to, mentally and physically, possibly to the extent that we are no longer human. For example, bionic limbs for amputees are getting better and better, and maybe they’ll get better than the real thing sometime. And then some otherwise healthy people will want them. I think there will be worldwide debates, or fight between a majority of people with a conservational stance on humanity and those individualists who’ll want to venture into various directions. My work is rarely about any specific technological possibility, this is usually just vaguely implied, but rather about a generalized struggle, the psychological implications of trying to overcome oneself.
Q5: What is the main color of your art and why?
The hues between blue and green. Mostly just because I like it, and because I think it conveys a certain cold, clearheaded mood which is my favorite state of mind. And a lot of black, if that counts as a “color”, because of how the highlights seems to glow, and probably because my mind goes to dark places..
Q6: What would you improve about your work and why?
Everything. For example improving the aesthetics and impact so people will want to study the images more closely to decipher the meaning. Also I’m always trying to communicate through more effective and intuitively graspable symbolism.
Q7: Do you have any project for the future?
Creating more and hopefully better images? I have a big archive of unrealized ideas, that are continually updated and improved until I decide if and how to actually create them. And I will start exhibiting again sometime. I’m just procrastinating all that since I hate the business/selling part of doing this.
Q8: Describe yourself with 3 words capturing the essence of Erlend Mørk.
Individualistic, cerebral, byronic.
Q9: Show us (link) your very first work. Describe it from techniques till feelings.
It’s impossible to know what was the first, from the first childhood scribble to the first computer graphic never intended to leave my hard drive. HERE is a snapshot I took when I was around 14, of my brother and my father. Years later I looked through an album of uninteresting family/friend photos I’d taken, and this one stood out to me. It was directly what caused me to want to buy that digital camera years later, and might have started the whole thing. Technically it was just point and shoot, no thought, no plan. But later I found it perfectly expressed to me the surreal nature of these trips down to the water, and us, the disconnected people. My father with his usual and unwarranted enthusiasm for outdoor trips, my brother the ruthless scientist darkly planning to capture and study some unfortunate water creatures, and me the photographer, hating the entire concept of leaving my computer, was only agreeing to go along because I could photograph it. So later I thought that if this could happen by luck, how much more efficient to stage it?
Q10: What did change from your first work till now?
Now everything is staged and planned, and I’m conscious of the ideas involved and direction of it all.
Q11: What is art for you? Escaping from reality or the essence of life?
I have no interest in escaping from reality. I’m often disappointed if I’m compared to fantasy artists, because I intend no such thing. Though my weird characters and gothic aesthetics might have a superficial similarity, the people/creatures and objects in my works are not supposed to be taken literally. It’s all just symbolism, commenting on the real world, this existence, the human condition and our future. My mind is more often focused on the future rather than the right here and now, but I try to use reason and have others challenge my thinking to keep me somewhat on a logical track so it doesn’t end up in irrelevant dreams and delusions.