world in red and white
Interview and photography by Daniil K
Special thanks to Misschiefs Art Gallery
First, I would be very happy if you could tell a little bit about yourself - who are you or what are you?
My name is GREBNELLAW and I am a visual artist, performer, songwriter and music producer based in Stockholm, Sweden. The name Grebnellaw refers to me as an artist but it’s also the name of my imaginary population of fictional bodies and mutable hybrids. I work in a field between portraiture, costumes, music, songwriting, singing, and performance art, transforming these elements into an alternative cosmology and a personal map.
How did Grebnellaw appear?
I needed to create a reality that didn’t exist because I was living in one that didn’t make any sense. Grebnellaw came out of a desire to shake up a previous form that had become too fixed and stale. I felt inspired to do something more raw and straggly, working in a more improvised manner, almost like live “sketching”.
Several themes came together under the name Grebnellaw; my portraiture, a catalogue of songs, a colour code, 3D elements, inflatable costumes, a cosmology as well as a participatory performance process open to anyone that wanted to be a part of impersonating this new population. I am continuously being shaped by the people around me and Grebnellaw has evolved thanks to its transpersonal nature and I am grateful to each and every participant.
We shouldn’t be categorizing between art or fashion
Where did you find the inspiration to create such a character?
Since I was a child I always created characters or dressed up as one. As an artist, you are both the creator and the creation so I get inspiration from creation myths, cyborgs, mad scientists, golems, robotics and of course, the concept of GOD. The human imagination has always created strange creatures and characters and we still need to believe in aliens and the otherworldly. In my house I have a lot of characters around me, and a friend said that it felt uncomfortable with so many faces staring at them, but to me, it’s the opposite…it feels comforting. I want my whole population at my immortal funeral.
Why red and white?
It’s a visual instrument and a way of integrating my beings into different kinds of spaces and situations. Signalling and defining that something out of the ordinary is present. It’s almost like we are a living striped barrier tape. I guess when you work outside of a gallery setting you have to work with a set of different tools to create a context. The colour code is also a symbol of reduction and minimalism and it’s an experiment to see how long it takes before I get tired of it and it breaks down to multiplicities.
The colour of blood is pretty aggressive, while white is also associated with peace and freedom, is there any context behind the choice of these two colours?
I chose red and white because I entered a dynamic and outgoing period and I thought it was dramatic and uplifting and represented well this new era of actualization. It was a drastic break from my previous work. Parallel to my “New Population”, I was also working on a related cosmology and I created six founding concepts. One of them was ONAN which was associated with shapelessness, sexuality, Earth, and meaty form and was represented by the colour RED. The concept of NANO, which was more abstract molecular and subatomic, was represented by the white.
There are no more desirable colours in your palette, should we expect the injection of other hues?
My full palette is red, white, black, silver, and gold but so far I have mainly used red and white. The next step in the process of uniting these two opposites is to create ‘Bubbly Coma’ which is a powerful intuitive subatomic safe space which is very relaxing and meditative and contains limitless shades of red and white.
Interconnectivity and selfless love with coffee and a big piece of cake
What would you like to say to the world about your projects?
Reality is not static, we can create and shape it. It’s time for a change and I am exploring evolution through the possibilities of personal expression, moving beyond perfection, accepting chaos and queering AI.
Are they related to any particular issues/problems which are happening today?
It’s a very complex time we live in but the main topics that interest me are AI, climate change and new ways of creating community.
Tell the world about the happiest accident in your life
All my creations are happy accidents, misfits made with passion, dark secrets, uncut gems, accidental glitch creatures, mutations from internet trash, bodies made out of tape, huge bubbly alien-like forms, inflatable shapes, organic plastic, latex machinery, membrane scraps, digitally printed scarves and artificial hair from a virtual flea market. I roll it all together and bring it to life. I love my characters, all of them, they are so real to me, each and every one of them with their own personality and story.
As we have investigated, you are pretty good at styling, designing your own outfits and doing make-up. Do you think that this could also transfer to the fashion world, do you see yourself as a designer or other talent, or, only art?
My project comes from a different place so I have never thought of fitting them into a fashion system of selling. At the same time, we shouldn’t be categorizing between art or fashion and I think a collab would be very exciting, especially digital fashion and create a VR ecosystem that can be self-regenerated depending on your current needs and mood. Every year I do a lecture at the fashion school Beckmans College of Design and it’s always so inspiring. In the future, we should not exclude any scenario.
Are there any upcoming projects where we could see you as a hero?
Currently, I am working on a video with one of my characters ”Transsy” who is an anti-hero that came to life during the pandemic to tell the story of how to transform in times affected by a virus. ”Transsy” is a character and a medium between the real world and the metaverse through the use of a QR code. They are virtual dancers, seeking human contact and how to adapt to living on planet Earth.
And last question with a touch of philosophy - what is the main thing in the world?
Interconnectivity and selfless love with coffee and a big piece of cake.