In the Studio: Abel Kabel

Lørdag Aften
Image courtesy of Abel Kabel

Abel Kabel sits down with Erik Sommer to talk about Gauguin, painting on their carpet, combinations of colors, and not making perfect art.

I just found out I like crude and crummy art.

(ES) Describe your work for us.
(AK) I would describe it as explorational. Mostly within myself. Oh, and crummy.

Tell us a bit about your background. Where did you grow up?
I am from a small town in Denmark. I lived with my mom, my brother and our 3 cats. We always stayed in close contact with my grandparents; we used to meet at least twice a week. They sort of helped raise me and my brother. I still see them as often as possible.

Image courtesy of Abel Kabel

Where do you live and work now?
I moved to Aarhus, DK, when I turned 18, two years ago. I started school twice, but dropped out both times. Now I paint on the carpet of my apartment.

How do you think this has influenced your work?
I have always had a lot of time to myself, which resulted in me painting. I liked being alone and it definitely still shows. I had a studio for a while, but found I prefer the comfort of my own home.

Do you remember any artists as a child that captured your attention?
I remember this big framed poster of two naked women in the entry of our living room. I always liked that one. I later found out it is Paul Gauguin’s “Aha Oe Feii?”, which translates to “Are You Jealous?”. I think my mom still has it somewhere.

You previously talked about how you stopped trying to make the perfect painting. Can you elaborate on this?
I just found out I like crude and crummy art. Painting was different for me then, my style has changed a lot. I used to work towards perfection – when I was around 15 or so. I am 20 now, and I am still trying to improve on my style, technique and composition, but I am not focused on making anything perfect.

Candy Sweet
Image courtesy of Abel Kabel

What role does text play in your work?
Text is very important to me – it looks nice. I often feel like something is missing if I leave it out. I see written language and painting as two different art forms and I like mixing the two to get the best of both worlds.

Afternoon Scenery
Image courtesy of Abel Kabel

What about your working technique? Walk us through how you start and then develop a piece.
I like working in small steps when I first start the painting. I kind of figure out where I am going along the way. Once I get going though, I can spend hours and hours hyper-focusing on a painting, thanks to my autism. I then reach a point where I feel it is finished. I can’t really explain that part.

Do you prefer working on paper or canvas?
I prefer canvas, that way I can go bigger.

Finally, what is your favorite color?
I like combinations of colors, but if I had to pick one right now I would say brown.

To see more of Abel Kabel’s work visit their Instagram page.