Svein Koningen, Artist

When I first met Svein Koningen, my overwhelming impression was of Svein as THE Artist rather than meeting him as a personality in beautiful Noosa Heads in Queensland. His home was also the gallery for his abstract art.

His canvases are enormous taking up most of the white walls in the house. The colours are vibrant and the imagery unlike anything I have ever seen. His personal story of how he became an internationally acclaimed artist has always fascinated me.

I approached Svein early in my research for an interview. His early career had been in stockbroking and financial planning although his original training had been in graphic design.

He joined the family business believing that an artists life is one of poverty.

Svein had a successful business career in the computer industry, property development and in financial planning.

I enjoyed it all, but as the files per client got thicker and thicker, I started thinking back to my younger days. I grew up in Amsterdam and my parents introduced me to Rembrandt and to drawing. My father wasn’t an artist but he could draw very well. So I learnt to draw at a very early age and then to paint. I remember how amazed the teachers were with the stuff I was doing – it was always bigger and bolder. They would take the work around to the other classes. I had to go back to those times in order to build up my belief that I could become a full time painter. Eventually my wife and I left the Melbourne business world behind us and just headed north.

At that time, Svein & Di decided to make Noosa their home to take up art as a full time career.

I said to him, “You have really come full circle from when you first were painting as a young boy." 

Yes, there is an inbuilt thing isn’t there? The intuition that says you have got to do something. It took a long time and I had to go back to thinking about my childhood to build up enough confidence to do it. And it is the best thing I have ever done.

I asked Svein how he uses intuition in his painting:

I can have ideas go into my head during the day and at night, and I think that’s a good idea. By the time I stand in front of the canvas, it’s gone. I don’t care about that – I just start somewhere. Unless it is something specific like a landscape, I won’t have any ideas, even with a landscape I might think of the outback or the sea or flowers other than that there is no conscious thought.

You stand in front of a canvas and it just keeps happening. As long as I am not worried about it, it keeps happening.

I asked Svein is there anything specific that you use to get your intuition flowing:

I use music, a huge variety, a varied mix, classic, latin rock, jazz, salsa, it justs depends on my mood and the painting actually changes with the music.

Do you allow yourself to go with what comes up?

Yes it starts off just totally intuitive, really coming from within. Then as it progresses obviously the training and the consciousness comes in. You got to play with colour combinations, you have got to play with the balance of the painting. Its intuition that says, lets leave this, lets leave that and see how the rest of the painting goes.

I asked Svein if his thought process were either intuitive or logical.

Its intuitive, I don’t think there is anything logical about abstract art. It is totally pure abstract art.

I thought to myself, your intuition has been confirmed – this is a highly successful business.

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