Lilo on PaperA Beautiful Narrative
The feminine characteristics are those that empower, nurture, show prowess and grace, and inevitably see potential in what many overlook as ordinary. Danish artist Lilo, creates work that embodies the beautiful essence of a woman and showcases sensuality, vulnerability, and strength. When you sit to view her work there is a wonderful whimsy in her pieces and when asked what the fundamental narrative is Lilo simply says, “Every piece and story starts with me and is a reflection of how my life is at the moment I create it. So I guess you can say the narrative is a simple version of special moments in my own life.“
Born in Denmark, it was after meeting her now ex husband that she made the move from Denmark to Los Angeles. Once here, the love of flip flops, pink sunsets, drinks by the pool and the undeniable creative spirit of the city beckoned her. “It’s like little pieces of completely different worlds are gathered in one small place. I love that you can play rich bitch for lunch in Beverly Hills, live it up as a beach bum in Venice, have dinner in Korea Town, and end the day with a beer bottle in your hand on a scruffy rooftop in Silver Lake, the hipster capitol of this corner of the world.”
Lilo on Paper is her body of artistic creations oozing the fierce, honest, delicate, and beautiful openness of women, yielding subtle hints acknowledging artistic greats like Picasso and Matisse. The underbelly of her work exists in the fine lines, the playful endlessness of discovery, and the sense of recognizing and appreciating the female spirit.
Before delving into the world of art, Lilo (Lotte Offenberg Bergqvist) had another rather poignant job producing TV Shows such as Top Model, a slew of reality shows and she co-created Married at First Sight. Her background is extensive in the production world and that has clearly contributed to the fascinating way in which she sees the human spirit as exemplified in each one of her creations. Sitting down for a Q + A with Lilo, we discuss female empowerment, sexual prowess, the voice so clearly represented in her work, inspiration, motivation, and touch on things that influence her art.
Strength and vulnerability seem to be a very clear characteristic of each one of your pieces. How does the current time—gender inequality, social unity/divide, and a very clear cry out for hope—influence your recent pieces?
I don’t care if you are rich or poor, black or white, male, female or transgender, gay or straight. What is attracting, disarming and inspiring to me, are people who are self-confident, passionate, have a great sense of humor and aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves. I think we all struggle with balancing strength and vulnerability every day. And I think a lot of women in particular struggle to find that balance.
People are so busy telling us girls what we can and cannot do. What we can and cannot wear and when. How we should behave in public and how often we can have sex and with whom. We are slut-shamed if we are too sexy or called boring if we turn down a horny guy down in a bar.
So I think for a lot of girls it is just easier to give in and try to fit into other people’s ideas of how we should be, look and behave. Quietly accept and push our own ideas and desires down and let them fade into the background.
But it is 2020 girls! It is just time that we learn not to fit in, to take control and forget about shame and prudishness.
Us girls need to take what we want in our careers, our relationships and behind closed doors—And have fun with it!
I think the perfect balance of strength and vulnerability comes when we find peace within ourselves and stop listening too much to what people think of us. I really try not to care too much what people say behind my back, because if they’re talking about me then I know that they are judging me without really knowing me and if they don’t have the guts to tell it to my face, chances are that we will never be close anyway.
What was the first piece of art you saw that planted itself into your soul?
As a late teen, the guys I dated loved taking me on dates to museums and galleries and cigar bars. I think that was the thing you did back then, to “seal the deal” and make an impression. So I grew up with art as a big part of my life, but two pieces specifically planted themselves in me and they are both by Picasso.
One was a girl we had hanging in the hallway in my childhood home above the phone, Portrait Of Jacqueline Roque With Arms Crossed. She scared the living hell out of me. Her eyes are angry, mean and judgy and she is so relaxed about it. Ugh that woman gave me chills!
Now that I think about it, I think it might have been a cheap trick from my parents. Maybe they hung it over the phone so I wouldn’t stay on the phone too long!
The other one is Guernica. I saw it live when I was a late teen and it instantly made me cry. I stayed with it for a while because I never in my wildest dreams imagined that a painting could make me cry. That was a real eye opener.
I instantly felt the desperation and lack of humanity oozing out of it. There is a sort of helpless masculinity in it that is so attractive and repulsive at the same time. That really hit home for me. No other artwork has made me feel that way —or since. I guess that is why they call it a masterpiece.
I really want to visit it again. Looking at pictures of it doesn’t give the painting justice at all.
The female embodies a sensual yet bold sense of self. What inspires you as a woman?
People do. Us, and our tangled relations to each other.
When I look at my friends and guys that I have been in a relationship with, they couldn’t be further from each other in personality, ages and looks. So it is not like I am going for one specific type. It is something else. Something deeper that I don’t know or understand…yet.
A simple word for it is: chemistry, but I think there is more to it than that. What is that impulse in us that makes us connect and be attracted to each other, instantly? What is it that makes us have a special connection with somebody, while others we can’t even be bothered with?
I think the reason my art ends up being sensual is because to me, sex is a universal language. It is something we all experience and desire at some point in our lives.
It is the ultimate intimacy for me. It is where we connect on more than an intellectual level and where I can get a little closer to solving the mystery of our special bonds.
What puzzles me is that some people often get offended or embarrassed when a girl talks about sex. It is a fairly hidden, closeted thing still, but fully accepted that guys have locker room talk. It is like that part of life is exclusive for men.
Well—Surprise! Girls have desires just as well as guys do, but often they aren’t recognized, or maybe it is because they really aren’t important because our desires don’t fit in men’s fantasies?
It keeps sex confined to a male dominated world, and it’s a lot easier to ignore our own female desires. But when we don’t embrace it and keep feeling ashamed of it ourselves, that is where the real shame is. Why should we be ashamed of something so amazing? Something that is natural part of life for everyone?
If you closed your eyes and envisioned a day that, even amid the chaos, birthed some exceptional pieces of work, what happened that day?
I can’t really remember a day like that.
But what is totally clear in my mind is that when LA went on lockdown and the pandemic became a clear threat to all of us, my brain stopped for a few weeks. I couldn’t get one solid idea for anything.
So I now I know what happens when I go into panic mode: I get nothing done!
Normally I get most my ideas late at night. I love working late at night and at the last minute. It think I like to get the chaos of the day done, before I work. That is were my mind is clear and I am most effective.
What is your guilty pleasure?
There is really not much I feel guilty about, but strange thing I love to do is to “stalk” strangers on Instagram. I can spend hours going through a random account, just to get a sense of their lives. A weird thing. I know! I have no idea why I find that so pleasing!
And then I do like to get way too tipsy and smoke cigarettes on a weekday, even though I know I really shouldn’t.
What book have you read more than twice that reminds you to utilize your imagination?
Can I just be honest and admit that I rarely read a book?
Embarrassing, I know but I don’t have the patience to sit down and read a book. I would rather watch it on TV, while I am doing something else—or go out and meet people.
That said two books have actually followed me from Denmark to LA: My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durell. It’s a book about a British boy living with his widowed mom and siblings on a Greek island. The humor—the unconventional ways problems are solved—so reminds me of my own family and always has me laughing out loud. So I love reading that when I am down or miss my family.
Another totally different one is Khalil Gibran’s, The Prophet. My copy is totally worn out. It is a thin book with valuable spiritual wisdom. For me at least. I love that it is really hands on. The book is divided into chapters of a certain topics – so whatever guidance you want, you can find in a certain chapter. You don’t need to read the whole book at once.
What childhood memory resonates with you most?
My childhood was full of fun moments. My parents were really young when they got me and my sister, so my parents had parties, tried different careers, juggling their life as new responsible parents, while growing up themselves. Something I don’t think I would have been able to do myself.
I really appreciate my childhood. Our house had a constant flow of people in and out of the house. Some lived there for a while, some just visited, but everybody was always welcome and I had the freedom to be whoever I wanted to be, as long as I put in the effort and didn’t take anything for granted.
Working 0n a new media and if/when I succeed it will be a series of what I can best describe as feminine porn.
Lilo on Paper is a collection of beautiful, deep, sensual, and enlightening pieces created by Lilo. Her creations, whether murals, original design or pieces of art is the kind of wonderful work you appreciate more profoundly with every passing year. More of her work can be found at LiloOnPaper.com.