We had the good fortune of connecting with Theodore Svenningsen and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Theodore, what role has risk played in your life or career?
The entire concept of risk, as I am aware of the use of the term in the art world, is one that I feel should be discussed. As the term risk is properly used, it would apply to someone running into a burning house to save a child, or some similar state of affairs. I have always been bothered by how many in the art world use the word risk. One hears of an artist taking a risk when that artist takes some action such as changing from doing realist painting to abstract, or changing their style to expressive, or changing some other characteristic of their art, I have never seen this as a risk, except as an adjunct to the actual art making, such as a gallery suddenly not representing them anymore because of the change. There was a risk regarding financial concerns but that is not where the “risk” is said to lie when the artist is said to have taken a risk. Except for financial situation, if there is one, I have never been convinced that there is this so called risk. The paintings that I do have never gotten me into a gallery; I have never been in a gallery; but I do not see the paintins I do as taking a risk. 

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I do not think that my story is exceptional. I have been making drawings and paintings since my earliest years, well before kindergarten. I did not “discover” art in college. My feeling about life, and with not fitting in, and with the questioning of various activities of our society, has brought me to do the art that I am involved with. I have never gotten to a place where persons speak of it as having gotten somewhere. I have never been in a gallery. My thoughts have always been upon my art and not upon a career. The question of what I am most proud of is a difficult one for me to answer, since pride is one of the seven deadly sins. However, to answer the question: I am most proud of the quality of my art.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I really don’t know. I would depend entirely on the situation at the time. Probably it would be art museums and galleries.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Betye Saar, Charles White, and Emerson Wolffer.

Website: theodoresf.com
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Facebook: Theodore Svenningsen
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