Janne Løhre Hille: The art of visualising calm in the chaos
By Åsa H. Aaberge | Photos: Ansgar Valbø
It was never a given that art would be the way of life for Norwegian visual artist Janne Løhre Hille.
After studying both language and marketing, the Oslo-based multi-artist worked as a counsellor and later within marketing. But as the corporate career spun, an urge to express herself creatively grew.
After having her first child, Hille started art school. Her family grew from one to two and then three children – and with every new addition to the family, the artist dream blossomed.
Now she spends every day in the studio being a full-time artist. “I have my atelier where I primarily work with abstract painting on canvas and wood panels. I also rent a spot at a ceramic workshop where I create clay sculptures. As I find it intriguing to vary my techniques, I have started to play with woodcuts as well,” says Hille.
Hille focuses on compositions, variations in techniques and abstract shapes, organic textures and structures in her creations. As for the palette, she mainly sticks to the colder hues of the colour spectrum. Blue shades are more often than not prominent in her work.
Symbolism and subjective motifs
As an initiative for the observer to make up their minds and open up to subjective feelings and opinions, Hille stays away from titling her works in great detail. “I deliberately try to be a bit vague so that the observer can view my pictures in their own experience, and not mine. That way, the art feels more open and makes for exciting and subjective motifs,” she says.
Symbolism is hidden within her work, and Hille does not want worldly descriptions to guide the viewer’s interpretation. “My art is largely affected by human relations and experiences, but the viewer is free to interpret something else from their point of view. I find that exciting,” she says.
As a person, Hille sees herself as quite introverted. She needs a sense of calmness within – a characteristic she experiences reflected in her artworks. The need for calm is intervened by the noise and outer affection from the world, resulting in the various motifs Hille brings to life.
“I wish for the viewer to experience calmness in my motifs, while also reminding them of the uncertain momentums that surround us in life, be it themes such as climate, a pandemic or political tensions,” says Hille. The painting Planet strongly references monuments of uncertainty. “Existential questions occupy me, reflected in my motifs with the ocean, universe and human beings. I am concerned about mental health and have been inspired by that in some of my works.”
Credibility in layers
When creating, Hille prefers to take time, and she tends to juggle several works at once. “My paintings often consist of infinite layers of colours in the base before I layer the surface. From a distance, the motifs might look quiet and harmonious. By looking closer, one can sense a well of colours in the base layers.”
Layers add life to the works and draw parallels to how we function as human beings, she says. “Not everything is how it seems at first glance. The pictures become more credible and exciting as one detects the details. Many of those who have purchased my work have commented on the fact that they constantly notice new elements of the motif.”
The handiwork and the process of creating are what drive Hille as an artist. She often works on voluminous surfaces that can withstand ravage. For equipment, she prefers to use a spatula or paintbrush. After adding a layer on top of another layer, she sands down the work to discover hidden gems within the underlying layers.
Closeness to the family and nature
Hille grew up in Stavanger, a coastal town in the south-western part of Norway. She often finds herself longing for the raw, open freshness of the west coast and the North Sea. Countless days spent by the sea have resulted in her extensive use of blue. “The colour blue symbolises stability and peace within. Especially the painting Running to the Sea refers to the longing for closeness to the sea,” she says.
In her current hometown, Oslo, Hille seeks inspiration on walks in the surrounding nature. She also finds the city crowds with unity and differences among the inhabitants equally fascinating, while simultaneously cherishing being able to retreat to her private studio and home.
“I am constantly inspired by my family and must admit that I get the most energy and calm around my flock. To combine motherhood with working as an artist gives me both flexibility, togetherness with the family and more room for reflection,” says Hille.
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