Geir Nustad: Scandinavian inspired artist
Geir Nustad was born in Tromsø in the north of Norway in 1984. He trained from 2004-2006 at the Design and Sculpture Department of the Høgtun vidregående skole in Målselv, Norway. From 2006 until 2009, he got an education in glassblowing at the Kosta Glascenter, Kosta, Sweden. Here he became a skilled glassblower. To develop his artistic side he went to the glass department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in 2009, from which he graduated in 2012. He was also trained by various glass artists such as Argia Badago, Spain (2007), Richard Price, The Netherlands (2008) and Frédéric Van Overschelde, Belgium (2008) and he worked in different glass factories (Åffors glasbruk, Sweden; Kosta glasbruk, Sweden).
From an early age, Geir became socially and politically active, and worked since 2002 in different art and cultural projects such as the Kulturnatt, Tromsø, Norway (2002). He was project leader for a street art gallery ‘Gategalleriet’ in Tromsø, Norway (2004) and worked in several workshops for young artists. Since 2009, he lives in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and works as a freelance glassblower.
He participated in several group exhibitions and had a solo exhibition ‘Death city’ in the glass pavilion at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in 2011.
He works with multiple media such as drawings and paintings, objects, sculptures and installations, consisting mainly of glass, either as a sculptural medium or in the direction of applied arts.
“I am trying to stretch the use of glass as a material and to create a bridge between craft, design and fine arts, creating a deeper connection between the object or sculpture and the spectator.”
He gets his inspiration from nature and human images.
In his vases, the form of a vessel remains recognizable but by application of different colours or with the use of a ‘Graal’ technique, he expresses his vision and feelings. He wants to capture the life he is living and the lives he sees being lived around him. The vessel-shaped objects give comments to his surroundings, the big city and the society we are living in.
“The images I use are a mix of self-made photos and found photos. As in my ‘Graal’ installation ‘Street view’ (2012) which reflects on the situations and changes in the world around us, with photos stretching from subcommander Marcos in the Zapatista movement to my own godson and sister.”
He refined the ‘Graal’ technique so that photographic images can be captured inside the glass (Figure 1, Figure 2, Figure 3).
He also used the ‘Graal’ technique in earlier works as in his mixed media installations ‘Burned city’ (2010) inspired by the changes in the society and with the use of Scandinavian petroglyphs. The work consists of ‘Graal’ containers covered with Runer (petroglyphs) of humanoid figures commenting on the changes and how we have come from a hunter-collector society to the modern consumer society (Figure 4).
The starting point for his sculptures is often charcoal drawings, with a focus on the expression of emotions, feelings or a state of mind. He wants to project feelings, emotions and expressions from the drawings into body language, facial expressions, exterior texture and expressions of the sculptures, creating an emotional connection and response within the observer. In his sculptures, he is challenging glass as an art medium, its material expression and language. Changing it into a sculptural ‘non-material’, with the visual properties similar to those of ceramics, stone or metal, but by taking away the ‘glassiness’ leaving it with a pure expression.
His statues refer to the Scandinavian idiom with heavy melancholic figures that refer to man stripped from all decoration. The brownish colour makes them monumental in feeling. The figures can be combined into groups (Figure 5) that refer to the possibility of communication or stand alone, giving the impression of solitude and loneliness (Figure 6).
The work of this young artist shows already a maturity in technique and inspiration. His works are showing his inspiration but also his roots and social engagement.