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Please introduce yourself and tell us about what you do.

My name is Mie Olise Kjærgaard, I’m an artist and I exhibit my art with base in Copenhagen, most of the US and in Europe. I primarily work with paintings in a figurative and expressive language, affecting themes about the role of women in society and in the (art)history. I use big arm movements often in large formats and my art contains layers of both critics and humor.

Could you explain more about how being a woman has affected your career?

For many years I didn’t think it affected me that much I thought we were closer to equality, meaning I just had to work my way through then everything would come together. At one point it started to become clear, that I had to run three times as far and three times as fast in order to achieve a third of what my male colleagues achieved. It hit me like a sledgehammer! Besides the fact that it’s way way way too tough in the long run, it just doesn’t make sense.

Unfortunately, the world of art is developing the slowest and it’s the worst in terms of equality. Especially women above the age of 40 is overlooked since the breakthrough in equality primarily benefits the younger artists. I can imagine that it could feel even more unfair, that the train studently is running and you still don’t get a seat.

Personally, I’m an example of a female artist who have succeeded okay – it has been way easier for me to be seen and have my art exhibited in cities such as London and New York which shouldn’t make sense – perhaps in a smaller society it’s even harder to change the rules?

Can you name some other (female) artists inspires you and explain why they do so?

Almost all my role models are women. My mentor Kathrine Bradford is my biggest inspiration, but there is so many; Marisol, Louise Nevelson, Lauren Carrington, Judy Chicago, Pussy Riot, Barbara Kruger, Kara Walker, Elisabeth Peyton, Tschabalala Self, Janet Cardiff and Eva Steen Knudsen. I have just curated an exhibit in Dallas with 16 of the worlds biggest female artists; and I have created a piece of art with the names of all my female role models; I also did a project where I borrowed the titles of female artists works for my own works that I created for almost a year.

It’s a big theme in my work to pay tribute to my female role models.

What have been the most challenging aspect of being a female artist?

To not get knocked down from the many rejections, perfidious reviews and by sticking my nose forward and getting a bucket of ice water in my head time and time again. To keep the energy in my atelier despite. To stand against sexism and continue to preserve the hope, the courage and the dream. I do have a quite a lot of courage and energy, but there are also limits for what is fair.

What would you like people to notice in your artwork?

I hope they notice and feel a fundamental power and energy coming from the inside – from the bottom. The girls/women/witches I portrait is often filled with a wild energy and perhaps even rage coming from the foundation, which they try to shoot off in some way. At the same time, they cross the line for what traditionally is expected from women; I’m interested in letting go, letting of the control, the reins and going too far. I’m further interested in the faltering. When the construction is about to tear down and you are on the edge of losing control and fall. The idealized picture that cracks – which is also a contrast to the pictures we create of ourselves on social media.

I am fascinated by the younger generation who are set on sharing vulnerability but at the same time there is an enormous movement where the façade becomes thicker and thicker – it’s a strange dilemma and I feel the urge to consider what the world would look like if we let each other be who they are and allowed ourselves to be vulnerable and just unfold all at the same time.

I also hope that people notice the expressive, the layers, painterly strokes, tactility and all the things that are though to describe with words because it’s a painting.

Mie is wearing our SUSSIMA blazer with matching SUMATRA pants.