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In the Agora:

Gustava’s textural and mystical works

BY · MARCH 11, 2016

Photo courtesy of Agora Gallery
Hilde Gustava, Searching for the Right Symbols, Acrylic on Canvas, 27.5 x 27.5.

Victoria Hofmo
Brooklyn, N.Y.
A couple weeks ago I wrote about Lars Aukrust, a Norwegian artist showing at Agora Gallery in New York.
This week we bring you another Norwegian, Hilde Gustava. There is a certain vitality and vibrancy found 
in the work of both Norwegian artists, as well as a sense of symbolism. Both Aukrust and Gustava’s use of 
color is phenomenal. However, in Hilde’s palette red dominates and the forms in her work are more abstract; 
her images vibrate. I had an opportunity to speak with Gustava about how and why she became an artist, her 
work, and her inclusion in an upcoming Agora Gallery exhibition. Victoria Hofmo: Could you speak a little
about how you became an artist and why? Hilde Gustava: I think I was born to create and use my fantasy. 
But when I was a child, I thought I would end up as either a dancer or actress. I was a single child 
living on the countryside in Norway with no organized activities, so I made my own plays with me as the main 
characters and my dolls and soft toys as co-actors/actresses. I sewed costumes and drew stage carpets, made 
scenography, and so on.In the winter season in the part of Norway where I grew up, it is very cold… so 
I think I drew most of my afternoons and evenings, and my inner world could be shared through pencils and paper. 
If the paper box was empty, I started to draw upon wooden logs. And from that I started to make sculptures.
I used nature in the summertime to create “big pictures” on the lawn with stones, soil, flowers, leaves, etc. 
In the evening the lawn was a carpet of “cartoon” stories—to my mother’s despair (it was a horror to cut the lawn). 
After that I went on to make “nature pictures” in the woods and also I “decorated” trees.When I started to study, 
I was split between many directions. But I started in university with philosophy classes and at the same time went 
to drawing and painting classes. I also have an Arts and Craft Teacher’s Degree. I love to teach and get to know people, 
and I love philosophy and get inspired by discussions and exchanging knowledge from different cultures and skills. 
I took both a Teaching Degree and an Art Degree at University and College because I like to be inspired by teaching 
and learning from students.

Photo courtesy of Agora Gallery
Hilde Gustava and assistant at work in her atelier.

I think we artists are lucky because we have a great opportunity to investigate 
and find“new things “ on our way—and by that I feel so blessed and privileged—
but on the other side cursed—because I feel I never have enough time to put my 
ideas out in the real world.My relatives and friends would tell you that I was 
born with too much imagination, too much curiosity, and a sensitive heart. 
I have always—since I was really little, about two years old—loved to draw my 
imaginings and my surroundings. I was always busy and curious by nature. When 
my grandmother taught me to knit I was five: she found me sleeping with the 
knitting in my hands. Later as an art student, I made free-fantasy knitted 
carpets and clothes: I got boredby “recipes,” and liked to create my own style.I 
think I just need to be an artist to be happy and fulfill my purpose through 
my imagination and creativity. VH: Red often dominates your vibrant pieces, 
juxtaposed with chartreuse. Can you speak about what those colors mean to you?
HG: I know a lot about color theory from art school and my own studies, also 
chromotherapy color theory, the cultural and historical meanings of colors…
But when I work in my atelier I do not think of these theories; I just 
feel the colors that fit with my soul and creativity. I want to expressmy
spirituality.The most mysterious and unpredictable art comes out when 
I just use and trust my feelings. After I am finished with a series of work, 
I can find it interesting to “research” my own color combinations and themes 
in general…  I am occupied with spiritual energies, and very often it “fits” 
the energies of angels, chakras… I will not go further here to explain 
my personal spiritual journey, but I believe those 
who are interestedin such or have

Photo courtesy of Agora Gallery Pi in Red and Orange Sunset, Acrylic on Canvas, 39.5 x 39.5.
Photo courtesy of Agora Gallery
Pi in Red and Orange Sunset, Acrylic on Canvas, 39.5 x 39.5.
VH: Your technique begins with “sculpting the surface of your canvas [with] materials, 
such as sand, bird seed and cement.” How did you come up with that technique?
HG: I used to love sculpting with clay when I studied to be an Arts and Craft 
Teacher in my early 20s; I started to experiment with using plaster casts to 
make sculptures,and from them I have continued to experiment with sand, 
concrete, wood, old clothes… Yes, I painted and mixed everything. In my arts and 
crafts education we also learned to use all kinds of materials, make paper, color 
our own wool using natural pigments. We tried old techniques, and all these materials 
and very good professors made my mind explode—I wanted to try everything! I still do 
a lot of arts and craft work and mix these with readymades. I also make huge wooden 
flowers and paint ancient symbols on them, do performance, theatre, and crossover 
projects… So of course I like to experiment with the surface of the canvases, too.VH:
Your treatmentof your canvas is reminiscent of the New York artist Albert Pinkham
Ryder (1847-1917). He would add tobacco juice, varnish, wax, oil resin, and painted 
layers to evoke tones and textures. Are you familiar with his work and have you been 
influenced by him? HG: I am sorry to say I never heard of him, but I will definitely 
check him out! He sounds like my “soulmate” in the way he experimented with different 
media and techniques. I remember during the study of nude art models in art school, 
we sometimes used coffee and sticks to draw the naked bodies. I later combined coffee 
with charcoal, pastels, and watercolors on paper sheets. So the answer to your 
question is that I get very inspired by just putting myself in an atelier with 
a lot of space, different media, tools, materials… I do not think anybody has 
influenced me directly, but I have admired and admire many artists, of course!
VH: In a press release about your upcoming exhibit at the 
Agora Gallery they mention your
Photo courtesy of Agora Gallery The Great Journey of Pi and Me 3, Acrylic on Canvas, 39.5 x 59.
Photo courtesy of Agora Gallery
The Great Journey of Pi and Me 3, Acrylic on Canvas, 39.5 x 59.
HG: I am very occupied by ancient spiritual and religious symbols, as well as
mathematica l and practical ones… In those represented in Agora there is
mostly pi and the symbol of infinity, and they are represented in one way or
the other in everything I do.



Gustavas kulturfabrikk tilrettelegger kurs for enkeltpersoner, venner, familier, institusjoner og næringsliv, hjemme hos den enkelte, på arbeidsplassen

eller i Gustavas kulturfabrikk sine lokaler. Vi skreddersyr pakker etter behov og ønsker. Gustavas kulturfabrikk kan også være behjelpelig

med revyinnslag, stand-up og skjult teater.

Til næringslivet:

Vi tilbyr en annerledes opplevelse for deg og dine ansatte!

GUSTAVAS KULTURFABRIKK er en "kulturell oase" for alle aldre. Kulturfabrikken tilrettelegger opplevelser for grupper fra næringslivet både på

egen arbeidsplass og i fabrikklokalene. Vi skreddersyr ditt opplegg!

GUSTAVAS KULTURFABRIKK ønsker å skape en arena for felles opplevelse og å gi de ansatte en positiv spirit, noe de vil kunne ta med seg videre

på arbeidsplassen. Man blir kjent med hverandre på en litt annen måte enn ellers, og noen vil kanskje se kolleger med ”nye briller”

og opprette nye relasjoner.

Det å oppleve seg selv og hverandre i nye situasjoner, er et kjærkomment brudd i hverdagen.

Kanskje trengs det noen enkle aktiviteter som løser opp litt i rigide oppfatninger av hverandre, også?

TID Tilpasser fra to timer til flere dager.
ANTALL Fra 10 - 40 personer på kulturfabrikken. Inntil 100 personer hvis fabrikksjefen kommer til dere
PRIS Etter avtale, da innhold vil avgjøre den

En morsom pakke skal bidra til å ta vare og utvikle samholdet i gruppen.

GUSTAVAS KULTURFABRIKK tilbyr alle grupper og konstellasjoner tilrettelagte arrangementer hvor ulik kunst og praktisk estetikk står sentralt.

Grupper som ønsker å SKAPE og DELTA selv, ikke bare konsumere.

GUSTAVAS KULTURFABRIKK tar sikte på å øke trivselen, stimulere til relasjonsbygging og utvikle / ta vare på et godt fellesskap i gruppen(e).

Utgangspunktet og plattformen vil sette fokus på å ha en trygg og positiv arena, hvor man får noe å mimre og ha moro av i lang tid etterpå.

All forskning viser at det å være aktivt deltagende i trygge ufarlige omgivelser, gir grobunn for trivsel og godt miljø.
Pakken skreddersys i samarbeid med kunden.




Ta en kikk på vedlagte meny.

Du skal heller ikke være sikker på at jeg ikke tar kon

Med vennlig hilsentakt med deg!

Hilde Gustava




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