INTERVIEW BY ELIN UNNES
Vice: Do you ever cringe when you go through your archives?
Ragnar: Not when I look at the things I did when I was 16—all those awesome zombie drawings. The only things that I’m embarrassed about are the drawings I made when I was going to an art school in Gothenburg. It was all airy-fairy. The teachers were fucked in the head, and I was constantly getting chewed out. So for a while, I ended up trying to do things the way I was supposed to. I’m incredibly embarrassed of those things.
Do you have a favorite pen?
My favorite is a regular pencil with a fine lead. They’re 6 euros each, so every second month I’ll pop down to the department store and knick five new ones. They never keep more than five of them out in the open.
Do you ever draw drunk?
Pretty often, actually. There’s really no difference in the result. I like drawing and drinking.
Do you think you’ll get rich from drawing?
No way. The first assignment I ever got was from you guys. It would be a total luxury, though, getting to spend my days drawing, drinking wine, and doing shows with my friends. But right now I have 7.80 euros in my bank account. I’m psyched that you’re buying me beer. I’ll have to jump the subway barrier to get back to the suburbs. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be a martyr. I know I could just go back to the factory and get a job and then I’d have money again.
What’s the hardest thing to draw?
I used to think it was horses, so I drew huge amounts of horses. If there’s something that doesn’t work, then I’ll draw it until it does. Vases are the number one thing right now. My great-gran—a real iron lady—told me, “I want a drawing for my birthday.” I started thinking about what kind of a motif you might like if you’re 101 years old and spent your entire life in the north of Sweden. I went home and I drew her a bird, and I realized that birds are really hard to draw. So I did birds until I had them figured out. Then I drew her a vase, but that was even harder. She died before I had a chance to give her the drawings.
Ragnar has a solo show at Östersunds Konstförening in Östersund, Sweden, next month. He’s about to release yet another zine of his drawings. He’s pretty sure it’s the tenth one he’s made.