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The Artist

Wood carving

Wood carving


About Ketil Kvam:

I was born in Fredrikstad, a small town east of Oslo, in 1959. My family moved to Oslo, where we lived for a few years. When I was 12 years old we moved to Bergen, my father´s hometown. My father always made drawings for us. This was an inspiration not only for me, but also for two of my siblings who became good cartoonists.

After completing high school, I moved to The Netherlands, where I worked with children and young people with mental disabilities. There I became acquainted with Rudolf Steiner´s anthroposophy. During my time in The Netherlands I also began making furniture. I came back to Norway in 1983 and started a family, we established ourselves in Bergen and in 1986 I attended the art school for one year.

My interest in art was always there, but it was in 1993, that circumstances in life made me decide to move eastward with my three children, to continue my art education. In 1995 I attended a 2 year art school in Sweden. By 1997 we where back in Bergen, and in 1999 I decided to try to make a living with my art.

I founded “Kvams Flisespikkeri”, where I produced and sold different types of wall cabinets in wood. I let myself be inspired by carvings and shapes from our old Stave churches and wooden boats. In 2004 I had the opportunity to rent a studio and gallery at Bryggen in Bergen. It is in this location that I have, for the last 12 years, made my wood block prints, lino cuts, paintings, watercolors, etchings, etc.

In printmaking I am mainly self-taught, but in recent years I have attended a number of courses in different printmaking techniques. When painting, I mainly work with old techniques: wood panels primed with chalk and bone glue, and tempera made with egg, oil, water and pigments. These materials and techniques have been used by the icon painters for centuries.

I find my inspiration in the norwegian nature, its mountains and fjords, but also in our old heritage such as the stave churches and viking ships. The idea that we are surrounded by good forces has also made me make a lot of paintings with angel motifs.

The walls and buildings of Bryggen are filled with history and are a source inspiration for me. It is a beautiful place to work and to meet a lot of interesting people. The year divides itself into a quiet fall and winter, when I have plenty of time to dive deeper into the creation of new paintings, while spring and summer is the bustling tourist season whereby visitors from all corners of the world come to see Bryggen and Bergen. A lot of them are looking for a souvenir that reminds them of their experience of the fjords, mountains and Bergen, to bring with them back home as a memory. Some of them find that in a print or painting in my gallery. In this way, my art work has ended up in the homes of people from most of the countries around the world. You are most welcome to come and visit my small gallery!

Ketil Kvam