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LINUM meets; Josefin Tolstoy.

LINUM will be launching a new series during 2022, in which we meet the people who inspire and have something important to say. First up is the artist Josefin Tolstoy, who we interviewed regarding the spring theme of colour.

Josefin is a versatile artist who’s worked as an Art Director and interior design stylist, but has spent the last few years developing herself within the field of art. We want to know more about her way of expressing herself in this interview, how she regards colours and her thoughts on the Swedish obsession with white walls.

The Swedish artist Josefin Tolstoy.

How did you decide on art as a form of expression, and what do you want to convey through it?

I’ve always been creative, and expressed myself with images, perhaps more than with words. During my time as an AD (Art Director) and interior design stylist, I lost touch with painting, as I’d found other channels for my creativity. But suddenly, the desire to create something more direct came back. The desire to be creative without a client drove me to start digging through my old canvasses, and once I got started, I couldn’t stop.

My goal is not so much to say something, but to express a feeling. I want people who see my paintings to feel that they are in harmony and that the message I want to get across in my figurative paintings is that we need to be there for each other – that we work best together. The best feedback i received during my latest exhibition was that the room felt like a warm embrace. That’s how I want it to feel, as there’s so many awful things in the world already.

The Sisters at the same table collection.

How do you choose your motifs, and realise them? What’s the technique you use?

  1. Firstly, I choose whether to paint abstract or figurative, and whether to paint with texture, as they are completely different processes in practical terms.
  2. I often have a feeling of what I want to create, and my paintings just come to me intuitively and they can depart from my original idea.
  3. With figurative paintings such as “sisters at the same table” I started with a sketch to determine the position of the bodies, but the relationship between them grow along the way.
The Sisters at the same table collection.

Colours are something LINUM has worked with since the start in 1966, we love very simple colours, what do colours mean to you? And how do you use them in your work?

Colours and composition are my most important tools. Choosing one colour from another and seeing how they take up space and change in relation each other is a constant journey of discovery. Sometimes I want to create something cool, and other times I want to grab attention, but in both instances colour and composition are the key.

The Flow.

Are you influenced by the colours around you?

Honestly, I love working with colours, and as an AD and on interior design assignments, even though I‘m less daring privately. Well combined colours make me happy and feel good, while the opposite can actually upset me, or make me sad. Many public rooms would work better with colours that stimulate people’s mood.

How do you regard colour in relation to people?

I’ve thought a lot about the Swedish obsession with white walls, and concluded that we need those white fields to reflect the little light we have. But I really believe that colour can create happiness and wellbeing, and we’re seeing more lighter shades than 0502Y, which was the only warm alternative when I started to furnish my first apartment. So yes, there are more ways to decorate our light-coloured walls than with classic white. A colour note and a soft nuance give the room calmness and a feeling of wellbeing, without reducing the brightness of the room. I also think a lot about sustainability at home and at work, and try to choose colours and materials that last a long time, instead of being constantly overtaken by new trends.

See more of Josefin Tolstoy here: https://www.instagram.com/josefin_tolstoy/

Photographer: Åsa Liffner https://www.instagram.com/asaliffner/