Studio Visit / Christiane Spangsberg

4 years ago by

Photos Louise Veng

I was immediately drawn to Christiane Spangsberg’s work. Maybe it’s the simplicity of her oddly intimate single line faces, or the hues of rich blue that feel as deep as the sea that first attracted me. Whatever the catalyst for my admiration, speaking to Christiane only enhanced it. The same depth and simplicity that exists in her work also exists in her, as an artist and an individual. She is curious, self-aware, and has an insatiable hunger to understand the world around her.

Our friend Louise stopped by Christiane’s Copenhagen apartment, where she often works (right there on the little patch of wooden floor), to capture her in her element as she prepares for her first, and highly anticipated, New York exhibit.

lifestyle christiane spangsberg studio visit atelier dore photo

Can you tell me a little bit about your life and childhood? Where are you from, and was art always present?
I grew up in a town called Vejle in Denmark, close to the water where I lived in a small apartment with my mom. I went to private school which was quite academic so my mom sent me to drawing class. I was always drawing, but we didn’t have a lot of money so we didn’t own art or really talk about it.

How did you get into painting, when and how did you start?
I have been painting and drawing as long as I can remember. In the beginning, I had to learn how to see, how to scale for proper proportion. My mom taught me to work with different techniques, so for a while I did a lot of aquarelles. In school I would draw with my friends, we mostly drew horses. Drawing was a love/hate relationship for me. I needed it as much as it drove me insane. I wanted each drawing to be perfect, and I would see no other way than to compare it to my own self-worth. If “it” was perfect then “I” was perfect. In my teenage years, I stopped drawing for a while and when I picked it up again my style had changed.

How would you define your work and the type of artist that you are?
I always find this such a hard question. Because how do we know who we are? I feel like I’m just a regular person. A girl, who occasionally happens to paint to understand the world I live in. As a person, I feel like the river. In constant change. Always moving and seeking for something else. But how would I define my work? Simple yet complex. I try to minimize the complexity of what I perceive in order to understand, but I don’t know what I am trying to say until the work is done. And even then, the meaning can change over time. To me, defining the type of artist I am is the same as defining the person I am. I am everything and I am nothing. I am sensitive and fragile but also very strong. I think an artist can be everything, and in the end, it’s up to the person who’s defining the art or artist to explain what they see.

lifestyle christiane spangsberg studio visit atelier dore photo


lifestyle christiane spangsberg studio visit atelier dore photo

What do you hope your work achieves or invokes?
I honestly just hope it invokes something. I rarely think about other people when I create a piece of work, but at the same time I have a need to share it. I want a reaction. I want to know if people feel something too. I hope they do, and I hope the feeling will change, that the meaning of the work will change as they do.

What are your main sources of inspiration?
My own psyche. The human mind. Understanding the complexity of our own species. It can be different themes I want to understand in a deeper way. Sometimes isolation inspires me. Even though it is hard. And architecture. Imagining a room with great white walls.

You’re currently using a lot of blue paint – can you talk about the significance of the color?
I found this blue color three years ago in the art shop. I knew I wanted my own blue, a signature color. I like its depth, and its warmth. I like the movement it can make. The energy. I like its calming attributes. I never use it with water. Just the blue. I want to keep everything as simple as possible, but then work with it. Same with the paper I use – the quality speaks for itself. Sometimes we have a tendency to add more: color, forms, water etc. I want to remove, let the materials and form speak for themselves.

lifestyle christiane spangsberg studio visit atelier dore photo

lifestyle christiane spangsberg studio visit atelier dore photo

You’re having your first NYC show in June! How are you feeling? What are your goals?
Each day is different. Sometimes I feel terrified; I feel so small. And then I get angry with myself. And I tell myself it’s not about me, but about the story. But then I get scared again, because I start to wonder if the story is good enough. NYC has shown attention for a long time and I want to make you proud. But in all of this I hear my mom’s voice saying, “Just do your best, I expect nothing else from you.” So that’s what I’m trying. My goal is to do the best I can do, and hope that people will come and say hi and have a nice time!

What are some of your goals for the future?
I really like having these small exhibitions, and I hope to have many more in the near future. I hope to meet a lot of people, say hi to them in real life, and not only on Instagram. I hope to publish an art book or magazine. I hope to do more things for other people. I hope I will have a huge apartment with great white walls with a nice man and cute little babies.

lifestyle christiane spangsberg studio visit atelier dore photo

Christiane is showing in NYC June 15 – 18, 2017 | 208 Bowery New York, NY 10012 |


Add yours
  • delphine May, 19 2017, 9:42 / Reply

    I love her work! been following her on instagram for a little while, would love to get a piece.

  • I actually never herd of her, i’m just discovering her now from this article but her work is amazing, the simplicity of the paintings gives them such an elegance especially with the blue, my favorite color !! I really love this <3

  • ceebee May, 19 2017, 11:39 / Reply

    Matisse 2.0

  • J’adore la creativite, le style de cette artiste, sa philosophie et son appartement.
    “As a person, I feel like the river, in constant change.” Mon sentiment…..

  • J’adore ce bleu ! Merci pour la découverte !

  • Beautiful – taking a dot for a walk . . .

  • Although I do find Christiane’s work beautiful in it’s spareness and simplicity, it irks me that the only inspiration cited is her own psyche when there is clearly such a strong affinity to the works of Mattisse and Picasso. Perhaps her work would seem more authentic and interesting to me if they existed somewhat outside of themselves and homage was paid to the forms that came before them. Pablo Picasso is often attributed with the quote, ‘good artists copy, great artists steal’ – I think acknowledging and contemplating inspiration is an integral part of this greatness.

  • julie May, 20 2017, 2:00

    Couldn’t say it better. Which also makes me wish Picasso was around and had an Instagram account.

  • +1!!!! I find her work more copy than stealing actually…

  • Article très intéressant, l’artiste est super douée, mais il y a pas mal de fautes, dont une dans la première phrase de l’article, dommage ! Faites relire vos articles ;) (par moi si vous avez besoin ! ahah)

  • I love her work. Sometimes a few simple lines tells you more about the person that a 1000 pages long book they wrote or a painting they have been working on for 10 years

  • Oh wow the Pictures are really amazing!!! I love the whole style of the apartment as well. Thanks a lot for this pretty inspiration.

    XoXo from Germany

    Neele vom Modeblog

From the Archives

  • Friends!
  • Holiday Gifting
  • This or That
  • Happy Holidays!
  • #AtelierDoreDoes
Holiday Gift Guide, For Your Girlfriends

Holiday Gift Guide, For Your Girlfriends

Magogodi Makhene, Wayétu Moore, female friendship, dore

How to Make Grown Woman Friendships—A Conversation with Wayétu Moore

Curating Copenhagen’s Art Scene: Kunstsalonen

Curating Copenhagen’s Art Scene: Kunstsalonen

atelier dore clothing renewal

Clothing Renewal

Carte Blanche: Turning a Creative Passion into a Business - Clare Vivier, Tina Frey and Ellen Marie Bennett garance dore pardon my french

Carte Blanche: Turning a Creative Passion into a Business

A Weekend With Disposable Magazine

A Weekend With Disposable Magazine

atelier dore 6 designers on creativity moodboard

7 Designers on When They Feel Most Creative

Sophie On Tour

Sophie On Tour

atelier dore studio visit streicher sisters striiike beauty

Three Sisters on Creative Entrepreneurship