ALF DOLMOND, 27, ASTORIA, QUEENS
WORD ON THE STREET: How do you celebrate Christmas in Sweden?
ALF: In Sweden we are similar to American Christmas, but we celebrate Christmas on the 24th.
Why is that?
I don’t know. We pick the night for gifts. It’s big; it’s not New York big, here Christmas is 2 months long. In Sweden we have a couple of days, from the 22nd of December, you start to feel like its Christmas.
What kind of presents do you give for Christmas?
We can give anything. Usually at school in Sweden we have this class, it’s a kind of carpentry, I don’t know how you call it. You work with wood, you learn to bend metal, and you always have a lot of stuff you make. This is very convenient to give as a gift for Christmas to your parents.
Did you ever give them any drawings?
You didn’t start drawing that early?
I did, but it was just doodling, nothing finished.
You ever make a drawing about Christmas?
You didn’t, really? It’s a pretty big topic.
It is, Christmas cards, all this shit, I should do it.
You could make some money off of that.
Why not, fuck it.
What’s the best gift you ever got for Christmas?
In that time, now it’s nothing, I had some video game that was awesome. All the winter break I was playing this game.
Which game was it, do you remember?
It was one Nintendo game, it was called 1080. Do you know this game, It was a snowboarding game.
1080, it was on Nintendo 64?
Yeah, 1080 was this triple spin, it was the hardest shit to do.
Since you have never drawn about Christmas, what’s the most popular theme you drew the most about?
I don’t really draw themes, I drawing characters, little doodles, little guys. Nothing really framed, organized. Pretty much bullshit.
You think art is more appreciated in Sweden than it is here?
I don’t know, it’s a little bit it different. Here it’s more appreciated, but it’s a bigger business, there’s more money in it. In Sweden I like to do drawings, but I never had plans to make any money from it; it was just entertainment.
You think the same kind of culture of art exists in Sweden as well, or it’s just a different way they do it in America?
No, I think it’s just smaller in Sweden. Web design and graphic design is big in Sweden. What I do, like old school, just drawing is not really big.
Is there any kind of drugs that help you with drawing, besides marijuana?
No, that’s it. Only when I smoke I feel relaxed, I want to sit down.
You don’t feel like drawing when you smoke?
I do, when I smoke it’s very good to draw, I like it. Some other drugs, some alcohol, something else, I want to do something, I want to go somewhere. If I smoke, I want to sit down and relax.
What’s your most disliked piece of work that you have created? The one that every time you look back on it, it actually makes you upset.
If I do something and I don’t like it, I throw it in the garbage, and I don’t have it.
Immediately? You don’t keep your mistakes?
No. I mean I have some stuff that’s halfway done, and I don’t like where it’s going so I stop it and start something new. I don’t have a finished piece that I go back that I and say, “I fucked this one up.”
So if you could pick one drawing to represent you at the end of your life, one that you have right now, what would it be?
That’s a serious question.
Why not, man?
I have a favorite; it’s in my drawer.
This is the one I like.
This is the one you would put on your tombstone?
Yes, if I am going to put one of my pictures on my tombstone, this is it.
With the letters, what do they mean? Are they supposed to be some kind of language?
Yes, actually its Swedish. This was a school assignment. It’s an exhibition for a museum, and we could only make letters with triangles, straight lines, and circles. No curved lines, nothing like that.
What does it say?
My name, Alf Dolmond.
And the vertical line?
That’s 90 and KR for Kronor, the Swedish currency. This is the date, 4/11, and the time, 9:00. The bottom says “Moderno,” the name of the museum.
Why did you make the face come out of this guy’s head?
I don’t know, I don’t have some translation.
But there isn’t a certain motivation that made you think, “I was to make this guy’s face come out of his head.”
Not really, I start drawing, and I don’t know what it’s going to be. I just start to make it.
Do you like to use the scratchboards?
I like to do it, the one I showed you was the first time I’ve done it.
Why do you prefer it, because it gives it more originality, because it makes it pop more?
It kind of makes it pop, I’m used to pen drawings.
Who’s an artist that you like and appreciate in the same sense that you like and appreciate your work?
M.C. Escher, and one South African dude, I think his name is William Kentridge. Little bit different style, but I think it has something in common.