The Best Address

Artist Daff Kjellström

Daff Kjellström is a 33-year-old artist and art advisor hailing from Stockholm, currently based in London and traversing the globe for inspiration. His work aims to evoke emotions, challenge societal norms, and provoke introspection, all while advocating for a more lighthearted approach to the art world. Drawing inspiration from pieces that captivate the mind and soul, Daff urges viewers to embark on journeys of self-discovery.

After a successful career in the corporate world, Daff finally found his true calling in art. His debut pieces hit the market in March 2024, with his first painting fetching $6,000 USD. Viewing imperfections as unique traits that add depth to his creations, he believes in art’s transformative power to inspire reflection and happiness. With his work, Daff aims to shake people up and encourage them to make decisions based on personal fulfillment rather than societal expectations.

What’s your artistic background?

My family background is predominantly academic, lacking any artistic role models. Growing up, I never encountered artists, and pursuing art was not seen as a real career path. In my mind, painting was akin to child’s play, something separate from serious endeavors. However, my creative side manifested in various aspects of my life – whether it was cooking a meal, styling my outfit for the day, or creating marketing strategies at work. Over time, the urge to express myself creatively only intensified, taking over my identity. I have reached a point now where denying who I am seems pointless. So, I finally said, ‘Screw it, I’m going to be a painter’

What’s integral to the work of an artist?

An artist’s mission is to stir emotions, challenge norms, and spark those ‘aha’ moments. While some art hangs on walls like forgotten wallpaper, real art grabs you by the senses and refuses to let go.

What role does the artist have in society?

I believe a great artist should be able to ignite the full range of human emotions and challenge individuals to delve deeper into their own thoughts. They can be provocateurs, pushing the boundaries of societal norms; storytellers, fearlessly delving into narratives others avoid; truth-tellers, saying the things others don’t dare; and dreamers, letting their imagination run wild –  but always challenging the status quo. It’s something I aspire to be brave enough to embody.

What art do you most identify with?

I’m drawn to art that sucks you in so deeply, you forget you’re even looking at a piece. It’s the kind of art that hijacks your thoughts and leads you down unexpected rabbit holes. It can be the most simple of paintings, but every time you see it you discover something new.

What themes do you pursue?

My art is all about trying to nudge people away from autopilot and towards paths that lead to genuine happiness. It’s about challenging the way we make decisions and embracing the freedom to choose joy.

What’s your favourite artwork?

‘Paint me like one of your French girls’ might seem like an odd choice, but watching Leonardo DiCaprio immortalize Kate in Titanic at the tender age of seven was my first time seeing an artist. If we look at the masters and the classics, the power of Eugène Delacroix’s ‘Liberty Leading the People’ is unbeatable.

Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?

Every day, I see people sleepwalking through life, following scripts they didn’t write. That’s my fuel – the frustration, the defiance, and the unyielding urge to shake things up.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?

I’ve worn more hats than a hat store, from starting companies to selling subscriptions for socks. I’ve run a photo agency, navigated through the world of marketing agencies, and even tried to revolutionize the music industry as an A&R and artist manager. For a while, I was a radio host and also had a podcast where I got to share stories and tunes with listeners far and wide. I wrote fashion articles for the world’s largest entertainment site at the time at the same time as I was scrubbing toilets. My career journey is the definition of “you can do anything you put your mind to”.

Why art?

Some folks excel at sticking to what they know. Not me. I am great at creating, but I am bad at maintaining. I thrive on diving headfirst into the unknown, exploring uncharted territories, and creating something out of nothing. So, why art? I don’t really think I had a choice.

What is an artistic outlook on life?

It’s about embracing change, challenging conventions, and dancing to the beat of your very own drum – even when it’s a bit off-key.

What memorable responses have you had to your work?

In terms of the positive ones, the most meaningful responses are always the ones that catch you off guard – like hearing how something I created years ago managed to weave its way into someone’s life and make a real difference. In terms of the negative ones, the times when someone has put in a real effort to do an act that comes with a threat that really scares me.

What food, drink, song inspires you?

Inspiration strikes when my mind is free from distractions – so tasteless food, odorless drinks, or songs with no lyrics inspire me the most.

Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?

Some might think the artistic life is a lonely one, but it’s more like running a small business – you’re constantly juggling hats and mingling with all sorts of characters. You are not just the painter, you are also head of sales, CFO and the IT guy. Roles that requires a-lot of social interaction.

What do you dislike about the art world?

The art world takes itself a tad too seriously. It would benefit itself by relaxing a bit and not trying so hard to act cool.

What do you dislike about your work?

When I’m knee-deep in a project, I start nitpicking every little flaw until it feels like I’m wrestling with an unruly beast.

What do you like about your work?

But once that beast is tamed and the dust settles, I come to cherish every imperfection – they’re what give my creations their unique charm.

Should art be funded?

Ideally, yes, but I think there are bigger problems to solve first.

What role does arts funding have?

As in any industry, funding opens doors and paves the way for daring ideas to see the light of day.

What is your dream project?

Picture this: painting all the clouds in vibrant hues and whimsical shapes to brighten up even the dreariest of days. What can be bigger than that?

Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.

Ai Weiwei, Robert Rauschenberg, and Andy Warhol – pioneers who dared to defy the norm and change the game.

Favorite or most inspirational place?

My happy place isn’t where I find inspiration – it’s where I go to unwind. For me, inspiration thrives in the midst of boredom and frustration.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

‘Embrace imperfection’ – when something is perfect it is never interesting.

Professionally, what’s your goal?

To encourage as many individuals as possible to reflect on their choices and pursue paths that lead to happiness. To spark a revolution of self-reflection and happiness in as many hearts as possible.

Future plans?

I am trying hard not to make them. I don’t want to have a calendar and instead live in the present. I often feel that I am already planning the next thing instead of enjoying where I am right now.






Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *