Interview with Torben Buus on his new exhibition ‘WORKS’
I met with Torben at Lynfabrikken. His graphical design business, Buusworks, is based in their communal office, which he shares with 39 other independent businesses.
Despite this large number of creative companies in close proximity, the office of the former factory building is quiet and spacious, as we make our way through it to find a corner to have a chat.
“My background is in graphic design. I’ve been a graphic designer since the age of 18.
I always had the interest in painting and drawing - but growing up it was very much a hobby for myself and my family - never something which I considered making a career out of.”
Graphic design and visual communication is still the main focus for Torben. What he works on from his office in Lynfabrikken is creating identities, digital and web design for clients.
And this influence of a lifetime studying and working in graphic design clearly has an input on his artwork too. Torben tells me how typography and design also play a role in the appearance of the work he creates, no matter the format or material.
The difference, he tells me, is that with his paintings he can be more expressive, using more colours and breaking more conventional rules than he would in his day-to-day work here at Lynfabrikken. “The professional side of my work is generally clean and simple with straight, Scandinavian lines; whereas my art tends to be more expressive and creative.”
Torben started off on his career as a graphic designer and artist by working for 4 years in a printing house as an apprenticeship . He then worked for ad agencies and as part of in-house marketing teams for several companies, before deciding to take the step and go solo a decade ago. “This freelance work started off as a bit of a side project, but as more and more clients came I decided to go full time - I enjoy more the freedom that comes with being your own boss.”
The artwork was always a passionate side project for Torben. He tells me how, given the opportunity, he would split the professional graphic design business and artwork creation 50:50. “Both sides compliment each other, and I know that if I abandoned one aspect I would miss it too much and want to return.”
As I mentioned, the artworks Torben creates has always been a passionate side-project for him. “I started off just creating the art in my room from my teenage years - initially on paper and then moving onto canvas. I would just experiment with different medias. My parents and uncles would give me commissions for birthday or Christmas presents, but there was never any monetary incentive attached to my work - it was purely a hobby.”
In recent years though, he took the step to see if he could begin selling his works. The motivation was purely to see if it was possible and if anyone liked it.
“It was a bit daunting for my first exhibition. I was unsure how they would see it and how they would react - luckily I got positive feedback and I’ve progressed from there.”
And it is this progression that seems key to his work. He is always on the lookout for new styles, techniques and materials which he can experiment with from his home studio - as part of an ongoing evolution of his works.
“I haven’t yet determined my style. Maybe I never will. I’ve always wanted to do something different - many artists have their own, unique style which they stick with. I’m still so early in the process so still experimenting of creating and selling art. This means I’m still seeing what style fits me, and waiting to see how it turns out.”
The same goes for the inspiration and ideas that motivate Torben to create new works. He tells me how anything and everything can influence him. His first exhibition was Pop Art and Street Art so he looked at the music, film and commercial industries, combining everything with his graphic design business and the characteristics of Pop Art.
We get onto the subject of END OF THE LINE and his own exhibition, WORKS.
“The idea of this exhibition is that visitors will get to see this large variety and progression of my works over the last few years. There will be posters, paintings, metal spray-painting, large-scale canvas works. Basically, all my experiments with different styles and a wide range of my work. Hopefully they can see it comes from the same person!”