" We will never

come home alive"

When I stepped down from the Hercules aircraft onto the tarmac at Arlanda airport it felt like stepping straight out of a movie.
The curtain descended behind me. The film was over. The darkness and noise remained - the sound of the bombers, the sound of the gunners on the front line, the children crying. I remembered the quiet, deserted villages with the bodies of women and children lying on the ground.

In some terrible way the darkness and noise still sat deep inside me.
We had made it home alive but…for what?
Was the darkness inside ever going to disappear?

Two missions in the Bosnian War had taken their toll. After a blow to the head with an iron bar I had suffered a concussion and lain in a coma for four days. Hour after hour of rehabilitation led to the diagnosis that the feeling in my right arm would never return.

All my life I had sketched and painted. The compulsion to do this was now stronger than ever. In a cupboard I found some large pieces of plywood and the brush was now full of life. I spent entire days down in the cellar – just painting.

I didn’t accept many visitors. Maybe I was afraid of any critique? Life suddenly felt a little better and it felt like all the inner darkness was being cast out onto the plywood I worked on. When Monica occasionally peeked into the cellar she looked a little skeptical.
“Did they only have black, brown and grey paint in the shop?”
she asked. All of my new paintings were in dark tones.

When I later found out that I was to become a father, without thinking I had filled my paint cupboard with completely different colours and hues. Suddenly red, green, yellow and blue started appearing in my paintings. I realized that using these bright colours made me happier, more positive and energetic. It didn’t take long afterwards until I had my first exhibition – a full house and sold-out. It was only then that I realized how amazing and enjoyable this whole thing could be.

Since then the journey has continued with wild antics, enormous paintings, crazy ideas, mad commissions and more…

At the moment my name is more widely known abroad than in Sweden, but it feels like it is catching up here now.

Now I don’t think “We’re never getting out of here alive”.
It’s more a case of“Life is wonderful and crazy and the journey can be one huge joyride”.