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Just as Groucho Marx once joked that he would never join a club that would have him as a member, I refuse to read any newspaper that would run a feature on me. This is  what happened this morning when the largest regional paper, The Halland Post, ran the interview they did with me yesterday. Apparently quite a few people read this paper because it was the first thing my neighbor mentioned this morning, asking me if I had seen it. I also ran into a couple that I often see on my morning walk with the dogs and they had seen it. This afternoon a friend and I went to another friend’s house to record a song and he told me that his father had seen it in and called his son to tell him. Newspapers may be dying in the U.S. but they appear healthy here.

Anyway, here we go:

ImageThere we are, right beneath the masthead.



“Koon has given Wahlbeck a carrot nose,” the paper libels on the front page of its Saturday edition. The outrage!



Then, in the culture section it gets worse: “Dan exhibits Peter Wahlbeck.” The article talks about how it was my idea to move to this haven of socialism and how I met Peter during last summer’s national orienteering competition in Halmstad, and why, though the exhibition is called “50 shades of Mr. Wahlbeck,” there are only portraits of him. My excuse: math was my worst subject in school and I cannot count higher than 10 with my shoes and socks on.


Finally, the portrait of Peter with a carrot nose. He is a vegetarian but has done some comic routines as Bengt the Butcher who works in a slaughterhouse. He did some skits where Bengt reports the latest news from the world of slaughterhouses which are very funny if you speak Swedish and funny even if you don’t. Here is a sample:

I also heard from a friend whose wife told him that the interview we did with the radio station yesterday ran today. So, there is some good publicity happening more than three weeks before the show. Hope is pays off in some sales or at least commissions for portraits. I wonder if anyone wants a painting of Peter Wahlbeck with a carrot for a nose and asparagus spear coming out of his ear on their wall at home. But, you never know. 


Into the big time

Did two interviews today in preparation of an exhibition that opens May 9th. One was with a regional newspaper. The photographer came in a shot a ton of photos with a camera that must have been the photographic equivalent of an AK 47. That thing would shoot a lot of pictures really fast!


The subject of the paintings is the guy sitting there removing his glasses. This is Peter Wahlbeck, a well-known comedian here in Sweden but also an artist, a radio host, gallery owner and a bunch of other things. He made a good subject for the project because he doesn’t take himself seriously and that allowed me to explore something about portraiture I have wanted to do for a while. Some of my efforts are in the background of this shot.


Here is the bright young woman who runs the gallery for Peter. Rebecca worked in the art scene in Stockholm for several years but has moved back here to her home town.


This is the reported who interviewed us about the show.


This was the woman from the national radio station who interviewed Peter and me about the paintings and the show, etc.


Here’s another shot of Peter during the interview. This project has given me pause to reflect on how life has changed since moving here around 2 years ago. This will be my second show, I have begun writing songs with two musician friends, I teach English classes at the local folk university and am really enjoying the hell out of life these days. There is something about this society that really agrees with me.

More to come.



Light show

Spring is here.  First day that temps were in the 50s since October at least. Some amazing stuff happening in the sky tonight. The days are 14 1/2 hours long. Everything is good.

To the east, a huge rainbow that was double for a brief period. The camera could not capture the whole thing.

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Then, to the west, the sky was on fire:

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Quite a show.


Long Time, No Blog

I came out of the fog induced by the chemtrails from Feb. 3, my last post, and decided to do an update on a project I have coming up in May. In January, I posted about a project I am doing with a local celebrity/comedian/artist/wild man named Peter Wahlbeck. I am doing several portraits of him showing his various aspects and beingnesses.

Last night, I dropped off a couple CDs of songs I have helped some friends write at the radio station in town where he has a weekly talk show called Karlavägen, which basically translates to the constellation we know as the Big Dipper. Here he is at the station talking to the women who run the phone lines before his show.


And here he is behind the mike interviewing a person on the show who is a job coach. Each show has a different theme and last night’s show was about people’s first jobs.


Since I was there, he and his producer cooked the idea for me to be on the show and talk about my first job (callers to the show talked about their first jobs), which I did (it was detailing cars at a local dealership in my hometown, Redwood City, CA.)

At any rate, preparations for the exhibition are going pretty well. I have a few paintings left to finish and we should be all set. I am giving the five or so readers of this blog a sneak peek at some of them.

This first is one I did to show Peter the general style I would do these in. This is Peter Wahlbeck the Communicator.


Next, we have Peter Wahlbeck the Artist:


Then, there is Peter Wahlbeck, the Comedian:


Peter Wahlbeck, the Force of Nature:


Peter Wahlbeck, the Vegetarian:


I have some adjustments to these paintings since I took the photos, but this shows the general idea. Peter did a show over Easter and showed some of the other artists who came to see him pictures of these that he has on his cell phone and, unbelievable to me, they want to buy these. I am doing this project to begin exploring an idea I have had about portraiture for a while and this was an opportunity. I don’t expect anything to sell, maybe one, but it will give me some publicity here in Halmstad and maybe result in some commissions for people who want straight, no nonsense portraits, like this one, Peter Wahlbeck, the Profile:



In my own defense, I will say that the paintings look better in the flesh than with these cell phone photos. 

The exhibition starts on May 9th, which is a holiday in Sweden, celebrating the day that Christ ascended to Heaven. For a country that never goes to church, they still take every possible religious holiday off. This weekend is a huge weekend for art lovers and, hopefully, art buyers. All the galleries are open and the artists open their studios and it is a huge art weekend at least here around Halmstad.

Stay tuned.