In 1977, Christian was sent to London for summer by his parents, by ship from northern Sweden. He found himself a teenager in the middle of the Punk Rock movement. Just imagine!! That turbo-charged his interest in music and fashion, and he always says that the most important thing he learned from punk was that everyone is invited to have fun, play music and be a part of the scene.
In 1984 he was invited to Lund and Malmö in the south of Sweden as a lighting engineer. He worked with several popular bands on wide-ranging tours for 5 years, becoming one of the two most sought-after in that profession. During that time he also started to design clothes. He felt he had to, because the shops "didn´t have any cool stuff".
1985This year I spent photographing a lot, experimenting with pictures. Concerts, people and cool stuff. Spent many night hours in my own lab, developing black and white photos. I think that was the most fun thing to do ever! Also this was the year I made my first Album cover for a group I worked with, Pojken med grodan i pannan (The boy with the frog on the forehead) together with my bestie Roger.This year, and following, I spent so much time on concerts, saw so many bands, I saw The Ramones 3 times. Iggy as well. Also a lot on music festivals. With the camera, spotting inspiration. Wow.
1986In despair of a broken relation i ran away to Paris to spend a few months with friends. Stayed in a fantastic top floor apartment in Quartier Marais that had been an artist studio. Glass roof all over. Designing and light engineering on the shelf. Didn´t even answer calls. Friends busy with work and circus school, I spent a lot of time with one friends boyfriend. Eddy. Painted, listened to music, talked a lot and him nagging me to start designing again.Months passed, one day he showed up with 5 big black plastic bags full of fabrics, textile, which he had begged for att the area where they produce all the clothing for Paris fashion week, tipped it all over the floors and yelled -Make something! Well, so I did. Then he took me to meet designers in the city to show them my creations. They gave me some cheering and I got my confidence back. And lust for creations.This lead to that I made my way back to Sweden and so I went to the banks to ask for a loan. My idea was to create a fashion show that nobody had seen before. Something spectacular. So I spent a few months creating, with help on sewing, and planning. And my idea was to not have models on the catwalk, but cool and sexy everyday people. The ones that all people in the bars and clubs wanted. In the meantime, some people offered me a place for a shop. It kinda belonged to a Rock club. ANd they had the interior done by a famous designer named Abelardo Gonzales. Wicked place made of concrete, neon and metal. Remember. This is the eightees.Also I had many other designers prepare for the fashion show. Or maybe 5. Sold a lot of tickets. Full house. I remember peeking behind the curtains and saw all these glamorous people sitting around the catwalk, watching the other designers work, cool soft music, and I was rubbing my hands and thinking Prepare! So when my turn there was loud hip hop like The public enemy and such as, my cool good looking models from the streets, and my clothes either leather with leopard, or handpainted jeans and jackets with comic book characters and explosions and else. Haha it was a bang!After there was the opening of my new shop, red carpet and champagne. Even though I was very nervous as I spent all the bank loan on one occasion, I sold out all my stock in one week! Happy days!
In 1989 Christian became a father for the first time. He decided he couldn´t stay in the fashion industry any more, so he closed the shop and took his family to Brazil. While there an artist friend urged him to paint instead of being restless. He soon discovered the pleasures of an ocean view behind coconut tress, brushes, oilpaint, canvases and a beer. He has never stopped painting ever since.
In 1990 he made his last designs for a band, painted all the time, and in 1991 he had his first exhibition. Everything sold out
This was the year of my first exhibition ever. Nervous like hell, really surprised that a gallery would show my comic book like characters. It was in Gävle Sweden and there I was, just started to paint and everything felt unreal. I remember saying that I was surprised to see so many people at the show, and that I thought my paintings only would attract youth. That made an elder man a little irritated and he told me that he also had grown up with comic books like who hasn´t?
So from that moment I realized that my customers would come from all kind of groups. Young/ old, rich/ poor, male/ female and so on.
So I had this exhibition in London, England. Everything had gone so fast. I was all over the news in Sweden already. TV, newspapers, magazines, radio...you name it.
My exhibition was fantastic. Many friends had arrived from Sweden, some famous people, big fancy gallery, swedish press was there, did a radio interview with Swedish P3 live and direct and everybody cheering. Except me who felt smaller and smaller and thought all my paintings were bs. After that I had panic attacks. So I said no to come back to London, said no to Paris etc and bought a house at the countryside to raise my kids, got a cat and some chicken. Re-grow. Not until -96 did I answer any foreign invites.
I was invited by Johan Lindeberg to New York to meet up with gallery people. Johan was living there to start up 12 Diesel shops in the states. I had my new brochure The wonderful world of Christian Beijer printed. So I went all over NY to talk to people in galleries. It was fun and scary, as I saw so many good artists exhibit everywhere, but I also saw some mediocre so I fell that I could fit in the middle somewhere maybe. One gallery in SOHO was really interested and said -WOW! It´s so European! about my style, which was interesting as in Sweden I often heard by the people that didn´t like my stuff that it was so American.
This was the pop art gallery that had Roy Lichtensteins and Andy Warhols first exhibition, and they came with an offer. They wanted me to move to NY, get a studio/ apartment close to the gallery so they could visit and see what way I was going, maybe point out the direction and so on, and I could have an exhibition in 1 - 2 years. I immediately understood that this would mean leave my family and two sons, get a huge loan, get a small and very expensive studio in SOHO Manhattan. Made me think that my family and my freedom was far more important. So after a few weeks of thinking I just said -Fuck it.
Ah, this story leads me to another. 1997 ...
I was at home Friday night, kids sleeping watching a famous TV show with a Mr Luuk. There was an interview with David Byrne. Formal leader and singer of the band Talking Heads. He had come out with a new album. Feelings. And when they showed the cover I jumped in the sofa. It was a total rip off of my brochure I had spread in NY one year earlier. I knew David lived in SOHO and was some kind of artist as well, and of course he knew the gallery people, so someone had of course given him my brochure, and he thought, wow cool, let´s do a copy of this infamous Swedish artist that no one cares about on my next cover.
Well I thought it was fun and an honour. Didn´t really bother. But the next day the phone started to ring and it was the Swedish tabloid press screaming about -What are you gonna do? Sue him? I heard Warner music was a little nervous, but hey. I told the press it´s 1-1. I got so much inspiration from the Talking Heads album Remain in light so I was thankful. End of story
My little house in Brazil with combined outdoor kitchen and studio
This was the year he went to a little exotic village in Brazil, Trancoso, to stay and paint for 6 months. Rented his own little studio in the rainforest with a view over the ocean. Surrounded by banana trees, avocado trees, mango and yeah, all the rest.
After the first painting he said that it didn´t feel right to paint as he normally does in Sweden. So he had to re-think. He had to do what felt most right and what the place itself demanded, so he started to take photos of the beautiful original people of the village, and the painted hommages to the people. Simple, beautiful portraits acompaigned the flowers of the area.
This year he decided to have an exhibition in his hometown as he didn´t have a show there for the last 10 years. Exhibiting all the Brazilian paintings and many more. Nervous as always, but had a sense that it could be some crowd, he hired staff to take control of the door, drinks etc. It was supposed to open 2.00 pm but the doorman had to open at 1.30 as there was a 4 people wide and 50 m long que waiting. The line lasted until 4.30 pm. People said that they had to come back to watch fully, because there was a stream gong inside and suddenly you were outside again. One could call it a success. The story made the TV news the same night.
This year he went back to Brazil to have an exhibition. Specially to show all the portraits of the people he painted while there.
All people painted received a printed copy on canvas of their portrait. There was a lot of happiness. Laughing, crying and of course the samba band played at the exhibition.
This year I was invited back to Brazil to do a mural, a wall piece, for a fancy hotel/ bar owned by an American girl. Monkey bar. My first mural. I want more! This was also the year of Football World cup and everybody knows about Brazilians and football. There was TV sets in all bars everywhere so people were sitting in the streets screaming and cheering their asses off for the team.
I can tell you it was some kind of experience to sit amongst all these Brazilians, with painted faces, Shirts and everything, watching the game against Germany......1-7 !!!!!!!!
This is my fourth year I can not have an exhibition. Because as soon as my paintings are done and I show them on social media, they´re gone. Yes people buy everything so it´s hard to get a stack for a show. I counted the average time 1 hour on social media last fall before, Booom!, gone. Well I am trying. I have 4 unsold fantasticpieces here in my studio that might be the ground for my next exhibition.
Yeah I know I´m lucky. But in the same time when you don´t have shows, a lot of people don´t know about your existence. Only the people that follow on social media knows what´s going on.
So fingers crossed, let´s have a show soon ...Update: Sold out.Exhibition looks far away