Filming an Artist Profile – Part 2
For part 2 of filming of the artist profile, we went to visit Kristian’s childhood home. Over 40 minutes from Kongsberg, the nearest ‘city’, lies Lyngdal. A small town of only 300 inhabitants and the childhood home of Kristian, Lyngdal is nestled in the mountains. Kristian’s father Tor Einar Evju, also an artist, built the extraordinary farm plank by plank. The construction started when Kristian was just a young child and still continues to this day.
After driving through the centre of Lyngdal, we take a sharp left into Bergtun (the name of the ‘farm’). It’s a large timber house surrounded by small outhouses, a ‘stable’ and a huge purpose built studio. As the artist profile was exploring the influence of Kristian’s childhood on becoming artist, we knew it would be the perfect location.
We started the day following Kristian around Bergtun with the cameras. It was vital to get a feeling for and an insight into the place where Kristian grew up. The thermometer on the barn wall dipped close to -20c and we had to take breaks inside, both for the good of the crew and equipment. A certain slowness is required in a landscape like Bergtun’s. Compare that with the attention to detail and laborious time spent on completing a painting, and the environment and surroundings that formed and influenced him as an artist are self-evident. The stark contrasts from growing up in a remote mountain village in Norway versus life in London is as clear as the winter sky.
We learned that Kristian often spent days out in the mountains during the winter. The juxtaposition of white snow, dark trees and black mountain cliffs, is reflected in Kristian’s pencil drawings, with large white spaces filled by sharp black pencil lines. Wanting to capture this moodiness and contrast with the drone, we drove into the mountains, to a place where a snow-covered lake hits steep cliffs and the tree line gets thinner. But we didn’t have a lot of time – in the winter months, you only get 4 hours of daylight.
The cold weather caused us some trouble with the drone. Calibration took longer than normal and the sensors were all off. At one point we worried it wouldn’t take off.
With little daylight left, we tried looking online to solve the problem. Using a phone at those temperatures is not nice either, taking your gloves off just for a few minutes instantly turns your fingers into ice. Stepping into a warm car wasn’t an option – the drone would have started to condensate.
After a while, we got it to work and shoot some of the frozen landscape of the Norwegian mountains. Following this we rushed back to Bergtun before the sun set at 2pm.
While filming, I spotted a little creature foraging under the bird feeder. A white miniature ferret, and I succeeded in capturing it on film. Win.
We finished the day by interviewing Kristian in front of the fireplace. Listening to stories from his childhood, and how he discovered he had a talent for drawing, the influence of Lyngdal on his work becomes more obvious. A childhood without a TV, spending hours drawing with his father by the fire in the dark winter months and the freedom of living in a remote place had come together to inform a quiet and meditative art practice.
As I travelled back to Kongsberg it became obvious how clear Kristian’s vision and determination to be an artist was. The weight behind the decision to come to terms with living the life of an artist is remarkable.
The next day I met Kristian in Kongsberg to film some portrait shots by the river. The sun was out, and the unique barren winter light of a cold December day was beautiful for filming. We settle on a shot over Lyngdal as the sun disappears behind the mountains in the horizon.
As I sat on the plane back to London, I found myself missing my hometown and the mountains, where I once spent so much time growing up. I made peace with the knowledge that I had managed to capture what I knew so well on film for my artist profile with Kristian Evju.
You can see more of Kristian Evju’s amazing work here: http://www.kristianevju.com/