Artist collaboration: Ina Marie Winther Åshaug

Ina Marie Winther Åshaug (b. 1983) is a Norwegian artist, based in Gothenburg, Sweden. Living in the same town, we have followed Åshaug’s work for some time. There is an emotional presence to Åshaug’s motifs that speaks to us. She is an observer and works best spontaneous from a corner in her home. The collection consists of three offset printed posters.

What does your work process look like in general?

 I usually work with pencil and acrylic in small formats on paper, mdf and found materials. The motifs are usually existing rooms/environment/everyday objects, and I have a naivistic expression. Although the works often are figurative, abstract elements are present and the material and surface itselves are in focus, which can then lead on to works that consist of more intuitive actions.

I have a spontaneous and fast way of working, where in my corner of the living room, in between all the daily chores. The best thing is when I can easily switch between life and art, but I have to be aware that life does not suddenly take too much time. If it does it is important to reconcile with art as if it is a dear friend.

Therefore I have also come to the conclusion that having a studio does not work so well for me. It makes me think of time just running, I feel locked and end up going there mostly to water the flowers and ease my conscience because I pay rent.

Which part of the process is most enjoyable?

Joy and frustration goes hand in hand throughout the process for me, and that’s probably what makes me keep going. But it’s very nice when I notice that I have crossed a line where I have an overview of the work, and see where I am going. Then I can relax a bit, remember to breathe and have a cup of tea, because then I know I will be able to finish my work, there will be a result. (I constantly practice breathing and taking that cup of tea even before I’m crossing that line though.)


Which techniques do you prefer to work with?

Pencil, acrylic, watercolor, found materials.

What would an ultimate work situation look like for you?

An ultimate situation would have been a stable artist’s salary, then I also think working in a studio would be good for me. But as long as artists have to spend so much time on applying for scholarships and project grants that one may / may not get, and if one gets it is still not enough to support oneself, I now feel that I have found my ultimate situation, namely a combination of my own free artist life and a safe, flexible and rather monotonous part-time job.  I have a position at the university library where I digitize the collection while I can listen to radio (a favorite pastime), and handle various paper materials that again inspires my art practice. Over the past year, for example, I have collected all the small scraps of paper that me and my colleagues have found while scanning the old catalog at the Humanities Library. The plan is to make a collage consisting of these pale pieces of paper.


If you could meet any artist/role model, dead or alive – who would it be and why?

Oh, this is a difficult question for two reasons.  One is that there are so many amazing people to choose from, and the other is that there is a great risk that that person turns out to be an ordinary person struggling. It is as if I need my role models to give me the illusion that they have an overview in both the creative process and in life itself.

But with that said, I would like to meet Agnes Martin, for example, even if she probably would not want to meet me. Lol.  She said “I am painting with my back against the world” and I think she had a lot of integrity. Her late work consisting of meditative and monotonous motifs, and associated process, inspires me a lot.

>> Follow Ina on Instagram @inamariewinther

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