An Artist’s Statement
in the form of a dialogue

‘But why? Why do you have to paint?’
‘I don’t know. I merely have to.’
‘But why do you paint the strange things that you so often do?’
‘I don’t know either. The arbitrary, randomness is important for my works; serendipity guides my hand and new and odd impressions may appear in my visual digest into the very last, before I sign “Joakim Ceder”, plus whatever year it is.’
‘Is it finished then?’
‘No. It is completed when you see it; your interpretation is the true one. On exhibitions, I often attach an equally curious title to set minds going and a little, very open-ended commentary to them; “note this and that detail, perhaps these and those things were on my mind”. But the final – and as I said true – result and meaning is the feelings and thoughts that my work instills in you. I am a democratic painter’...

Four Reasons to Paint, an Inquarelle (q.v.)

‘Right then. I give up. But perhaps if you tell me how your works are made…?’
‘Very well. First, I should tell you that not painting makes me unhappy. Without my art, I drown in all impressions and enigmas that this bewildering world brings me. And whenever it is threatening to do so, I pick up a well sharpened pencil as others would pick up a sword, and a piece of paper. All ideas and all the odd little associations that cling to these impressions are then jotted, doodled, scribbled down. If it is a piece of good aquarelle paper, I might begin at once, directly on it, come as they may. Soon, more lasting ink lines from an old fashioned steel pen replace the pencil, and then watercolours and perhaps even a little charcoal might join them. – Do you know, I’ve found that coal doesn’t smudge that much if you put a layer of watercolours on it? I am relatively autodidact, and much of my joy in painting lies in making such discoveries and bringing my craft as near perfection as I can.’

‘How interesting [yawn!]. But you also like to paint in oil?’
‘Yes. Perhaps that’s my forte. Then I might keep the jots and doodles and sketches as a reference. But I try not to plan my oils so well that there’s no joy in the actual painting afterwards. Instead, I improvise as much as possible. I am beginning to get so brave that I let go of preparations altogether and simply paint, as someone put it so well, what’s in “the backyard of my mind”. Nonetheless, I have a penchant for delicate, miniaturesque details and burlesque juxtapositions; confusion distilled. Seascapes near the banks, bodies, beauty and all kinds of intricate confusion currently attract me.’
‘But where are you going on the whole?’
‘Above all, I am trying to find balance. I want to paint something that says Yes to Life, despite all the chaos in it. But I don’t want to put on any false smile. I want there to be joy in the execution of gloomy and bizarre subjects. I want the smudge and the darkness in sunshine. I hope, someday, to find the perfect balance that’ll allow joy and sadness to dance side by side in harmony on the canvas, for so they do in life.”
‘Isn’t that bewildering?’
‘Yes. And that’s why I love to paint, and have to.’