Seb Ified Art: Giving old paintings a new life
By Karen Gilmour Kristensen | Photos: Seb Ified Art
When admiring an old painting, the last thing you’d expect is a McDonald’s logo. But that’s exactly what you get when browsing through the artwork of Sebastian Nielsen, founder of Danish website, Seb Ified Art. Playing around with graffiti techniques and contrasts between old and new, Nielsen challenges our expectations of art.
Purchasing old paintings from various second-hand shops and flea markets, Nielsen adds his own touch to the original artwork. Having made a lot of graffiti in his youth, he is heavily inspired by street art.
“I try to include an element that takes the viewer by surprise,” Nielsen explains. “I have always been drawn to graffiti, which is an artform that shows up in places you wouldn’t expect it. In the same way, my art consists of elements from popular culture that show up in the least expected place: old-fashioned paintings.”
In Denmark, Nielsen isn’t the only artist who paints on old paintings. But something that sets him apart from the others is the way he adds his own touch. When working on a painting, he keeps the main motifs and blends new elements with them.
“These old paintings aren’t bad at all,” Nielsen says. “A lot of the artists are very skilled and have a strong technique. And the motifs are good. I incorporate the original painting into my art to pay my respect to the artist.”
Nielsen describes the feedback from potential customers so far as ‘overwhelming’. “People often fall for the humour in my artwork. They think it’s fun to see modern elements such as a Pokémon on an otherwise traditional painting. And I think they like to see recognisable logos and figures which is why I try to incorporate those.”
While most of the feedback has been positive, Nielsen has received negative comments as well. “Some people tell me that they see my art as vandalism and an act of disrespect,” Nielsen explains. “But most of these old paintings have been for sale in second-hand shops for a very long time. Sometimes they’re just about to be thrown out. Instead, I give them a new chance to hang on walls in living rooms and receive the attention they deserve.”
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Receive our monthly newsletter by email