A Conversation with Thomas Dellert

Thomas Dellert is an internationally renowned Swedish painter and photographer who has taken part in numerous solo exhibitions throughout the United States and several European nations. His works are featured in the permanent collections of the Holocaust Memorial Museum (Washington DC), Heinz, Mercedes Benz, Absolute Vodka and the Swedish Royal Family, to name a few.

“Bowie Triptych” by Thomas Dellert

Why did you become an artist in the first place?

Well, as a child, I was lonely; I was shy; and I found it hard to express myself. So, art became a way of telling the world “I’m here and I count! will you listen to me?”. I guess, in a way, my art has been a kind of therapy of a person who is crazy underneath all kinds of make-up.

How has your childhood influenced your expression in art?

I was born  just 8 years after the World War II. The Holocaust was a daily topic to me as I grow up. Already from the age 7, I tried to understand this darkness and to deal with it in artistic terms. It made a great impact on me as well as my artistic expression.

“The Russian Evolution” by Thomas Dellert

How would you describe the core of your art style?

As I’ve been working as an artist since 1979, and with the influence from my youngers years in the 1950s and 60s, my art is inspired by Russian Avantgarde, American Pop Art, and French New Realism.

How does a piece of artwork get created?

I dream my paintings. When I wake up, my head is always full of new ideas. Then I paint these paintings from my dream. What inspires me to create, is a desperate need to tell the story. Most of my stories are based on history, which is of course a cocktail of truths and lies. Thus, my artwork can be provocative at times, satirical at times, but powerful at all times.

I would play with rubbish, flee market finds, and newspaper clippings. My art is message and not colors and form or perspective.

I often burn myself out as I’m a workaholic. My art is my life and my life is my art. But when I come home to my wife, I love to be an artist in the kitchen for both of us, and mix myself a large exotic cocktail to finally relax.

Artwork “Total Victory 9th of May 1945” by Thomas Dellert

What artists before you have inspired your work?

To start with, God. Also, Hieronymus Bosch, John Hartfield, Alexander Rodchenko, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Robert Rauschenberg, and of cause my friend and mentor Andy Warhol. Today I think Damien Hirst is the most important artist we have.

What is the meaning of art according to you?

Art is when a thought takes form. Actually, anything can be art, but art can’t be anything. It is what you feel. I mean, it’s not what you see but what you feel. That is art to me.

My purpose as an artist, is to tell a story for our future generations. I would love to believe, that art has a meaning and that what we do as artists will survive, even when political dogmas and religious teachings have faded.

What would you like to leave behind for the future generations?

I want to create something that is worth showing to future generations. I want my artwork to tell about the times when it was created. And that the artwork would continue to stay alive when I, as an artist, am long gone.

That one day a group of young kids will look at one of my artworks in a museum and say: “Wow! This man knew what was going on, before many other at his time.”

Artwork “Malcom X Yesterday and Today” by Thomas Dellert

“I woke up to the reality of that life is,  an illusion,  and a lie that makes us realize the truth.

Thomas Dellert

For more artworks of Thomas Dellert, visit his Singulart page here.