About Tommy Tallstig
in Sweden to two parents who came to Sweden as war refugees.
Raised as a working class but in a society that during that time made
an effort so that the inhabitants would receive a reasonably good
school education, medical care, good leisure time, an income that could
be managed and be protected from market forces.
The ruling politicians in Sweden not only had private
ambitions with their
assignments but implemented many good suggestions that made life easier
for many people who otherwise would not have had a chance in life.
Not least for working class people. It created a good platform in life.
Then it was up to everyone to take advantage of that platform.
It was a good country to grow up in.
There were still class divisions but also a kind of
Sweden created sports stars, filmmakers, artists, musicians,
inventors, entrepreneurs and world-class politicians thanks
to the talent being brought from all walks of life.
In the neighborhood where Tommy grew up lived alcoholics,
drug addicts, the mentally ill, ordinary workers, free church pastors,
social welfare cases, immigrant labor, so-called backwards, prostitutes and ordinary people.
Everyone knew everything about everyone and no one was for more than anyone else.
He grew up in great freedom and freed from most prejudices.
It was not a big deal to visit a relative in a prison or the psyche.
The factory smoke from the factory, which was 300 meters away,
poured over the block.
There was still an opportunity to climb upwards for those who had ambitions.
It was possible to study in different professions and at university even though there
was no money in the family.
And those who worked at the factory could buy their Volvo, their stereo and buy
their vodka on Friday and go on holiday,
a holiday that was four to five weeks long and paid.
It looks very different in today's Sweden when the welfare
for cheap labor and citizens who have become consumers instead of citizens
From being perhaps the best country in the world to grow up in regardless
of class affiliation to becoming a society where class gaps grow every day and
social exclusion is constantly worsening where gang crime, rape, murder,
homelessness and social exclusion have become commonplace.
A globalized country where the media has been totally corrupted and
where the focus on the political and cultural agenda forces the audience on
topics that should divert rather than inform.
Rule by divide is the key word.
Social media is overcrowded by people who play
reformers but really only run their own agenda with their own brand and
personal hate campaigns.
But in the middle of the vicious circle, there are people who keep the
style and do good things.
Unfortunately, the good people get minimal or no attention at all from
the establishment or the general public.
If you want to be a true revolutionary today, you must tell the truth
and describe the reality as it looks.
Or just express an opinion that has not been filtered through
the Politically Correct Filter.
Then you will probably be worn to pieces by the mob out there.
It is in that country and the environment that Tommy
and art were shaped and are still being shaped.
Growing up in the working class and with war refugees as parents
meant that one had no idea of becoming an artist.
Tommy did not even know that there was such a thing as an art school or university.
There was only one alternative in sight, to become a worker and remain a worker.
Tommy drew his way through the entire primary school, on the school desk in the
school books and everything else that could be drawn on.
The teachers were tolerant of that because he worked better then.
He grew up and became a worker and survivor who continued
because it made him feel good.
One day he started reading a book by the Swedish author August Strindberg
and was very impressed.
He did not even know that August Strindberg was known in large parts of the world.
He became obsessed with Strindberg's literature and read everything he came across.
There were more than 120 books by and about August Strindberg.
Strindberg was an eye opener for him and made his self-confidence grow.
Tommy wanted an idol portrait of August but could not find anything
so he decided to make his own.
He first painted a portrait that did not make him happy so he did one more
and one more and one more and so on and so forth. In the end,
he had painted together for an entire exhibition with motifs from
Strindberg's books and portraits of him.
He went up to the Strindberg Museum in Stockholm and asked to exhibit
They asked him to return with some of the pictures.
Which happened after which they became interested and wanted to exhibit
the paintings at the museum.
It became a group exhibition together with some of Sweden's most
prominent artists of the time.
Not bad for a self-taught person without artist ambitions.
Over the years, he has continued to paint paintings and to
himself with various works in parallel with painting.
It is commonly referred to as "a failed artist" but Tommy does not see it that way.
He manages life better that way because he gets routines from paid work and
does not have to compromise with his painting.
He paints what pleases him and has never failed to pay a rent or gone hungry.
Since he periodically had to struggle with various
financial problems and life crises, just like most people,
the painting has had many and long pauses but always comes back.
The painting is just like with the addictive personality, lifelong.
If you are a person born with obsession, it is a good thing to acquire good and
What still inspires Tommy is good music with interesting artists such as
Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Cornelis Vreeswijk, Luciano Pavarotti and David Bowie.
The favorite artist is a Swede called Lim-johan who was a poor forest worker who
painted fantastic paintings in his spare time.
Other favorites are Salvador Dali, August Strindberg who was also a fantastic painter,
the Norwegian artist Edvard Munch,
the Swedish artist Lars Lerin, the American artist Edvard Hopper,
the Dutchman Vincent Van Gogh and more.
The world is full of talented people in every conceivable genre.
What makes it a little extra are talents that go their own way
and do not compromise.
A good artist succeeds in inspiring others, which is perhaps the best
thing you can achieve.
Life goes on and continuation follows.
Selfportrait by Tommy Tallstig