Klover is a Swedish artist residing in Barcelona. From memory he is one of the first street artists I met and got chatting to here. Those Swede’s with their great English helping a brother out eh! Not only is Klover a great guy but he is also one of the handful of artists who’s work always gives me a little buzz in my stomach when I come across it on my walks. It’s just light hearted and fun but still quality at the same time. Wanna find out a little bit more about Klover? Read on!
Hi Klover how are you? Tell us a little about yourself…
Hi! I’m doing better and better every day thank you! 🙂
I’m mainly a painter, not doing letters anymore, (they never turned out too nice haha) and mainly focusing on characters/illustration in big format. I grew up in sweden and after some years of hopping around I moved to barcelona. I must have met you pretty early, since you’ve been omnipresent for as long as I can remember. Props!
Where does your name come from?
I was drawing a gift for my sister involving the symbols of a deck of cards (clubs in english is klover in swedish, which is literally clover). I noticed I liked drawing and writing that so I just kept on. Since then It’s taken a lot of different spellings, clover, clöver, KLVR, klovr, klövr. It’s really nonsense but it’s a fun word since it has a few meanings in my language: luck, money, a cute little plant.
When did you first start spraying on walls?
In my early teens. My friend had stolen a book from his school library about graffiti and street art (around the time banksy was getting really hot), and also it was the time of a beef between two big crews in my city, so I remember it as being really bombed at the time.
What was the original inspiration for grabbing a spray can for the first time?
Well, together these two things combined to be really attractive to me. On one side the drawing/satirical/stencilly street art, and on the other the straight up bombing with pulling the emergency stop and fighting with people. Obviously I was an obnoxious little teenager.
It was a pretty aggressive time though, the police in my town used to wait outside the paint store and steal the paint off kids who came out. My country had a really disproportionate attitude towards graffiti and street art, seeing it as something extremely dangerous/bad. So the average person in the street would just be all over you for the smallest thing. And I never really enjoyed the confrontational macho stuff, I always liked the drawing and the peaceful piecing more.
Do you like to work with a sketch or just freestyle?
I like to paint freestyle and improvise with the setting and the paint that I have, that’s usually when it’s the most fun! However for a while I had a period when I felt I was wasting paint, going out late without a plan and painting acceptable pieces. So lately I’m trying to have more of a plan, with a sketch and a color scheme and a sandwich and water and sunscreen and that. That way I can focus more on the piece and not admin things.
What’s the inspiration behind your work? A never ending list of things right?!
Life around me, hangups and silly thoughts I have. I also like detailed comic style, like in Adventure Time backgrounds or Moebius or Miyazaki. The main thing though is the dynamic part of it, sometimes an image just swings nicely. I have so much respect for the flow of a classic graffer. That never came naturally to me but when it does pop up I love it.
Also I’ve been assisting german graffer MadC with murals the last few years. She sets a great example. With her it’s always really big projects, and there’s something physical to it that I enjoy, like craftsmanship. Just the magic of spraying with a can never gets old. Or like making a ten meter long fade – you can’t actually see if it’s smooth when you’re doing it, you just have to use your muscle memory and kinda feel the gradual change! I love that stuff, I’m always really happy and inspired when I come back from work with her.
Is a piece ever finished in your eyes?
Ouch, barely. I tend to go until I’m either afraid I’m gonna mess it up, or until I’m too hungry, tired, or sunburnt to keep going. Painting walls is really one of the few moments in my life where I can loose track of time, (apart from fucking netflix haha). It’s really beautiful, but sometimes I snap out of it and notice my body exists.
Do you have any crazy ideas/projects that you’d love to do one day?
I don’t know if it’s crazy these days but I really just wanna have a reasonable painter’s life. Painting bigger to be able to add more detail, having the time to adapt to the setting of the wall, and focusing on the craftsmanship. Equally important for me is everything around the painting, to have a good vibe, no stress, nothing malfunctioning, and being able to enjoy it completely in a relaxed way.
Also I love to paint with people, like sharing a theme, developing the idea together and then working alongside someone. It’s always great to see other people’s process and being able to inspire each other.
That´s really all I wanna do for now, but maybe ask me in a few years and I´ll be more megalomaniac!
What do you like to do with your non-painting time?
I’m coming to terms with being a person who needs quite a bit of rest, so I actually spend a lot of time resting and processing things that happen. But I’ve also always been a sucker for people and how they work and think, so the best rest is cooking/eating/chatting with people.
What’s the ideal soundtrack to a day’s painting?
I tend to listen to all of my music on shuffle and just skip songs I don’t feel, that way the painting has different highs and lows. Sometimes it’s calm and I can think about a problem or color choice, and then suddenly there’s a banger and I just go to work like a robot!
If you could have one super power for the day what would you choose?!
Oh definitely controlling time. I would love to be able to just stop time and do whatever, anything from massive change and heaven spots, to just like stopping time the extra hour in the morning before work to feel rested haha.
What’s next for Klover?
In a few months I’m painting in Abu Dhabi with MadC, that will surely be an experience. And I’m gonna keep on working, hoping that more and more projects come my way!