Mette Ross: “Colour your life. You live only once”

Her paintings are abstract. Looking at her art work is like stepping into a world where waves of colour are “playing” with different materials such as mosaics, mirror glass or even door knockers, on musical notes and iconic songs from the “golden age” of rock.

She is Mette Ross, and she is one of our artists for a good cause. Mette painted on a Silvia lamp during our VITA lighting European Tour in Stockholm. Her creation will be auctioned at the end of the tour, and all the proceeds will go to charity.

We had the chance to take her an interview, and if you want to admire or buy her paintings, visit metteross.com.

You closed a sales-career chapter, and opened an artistic one. What motivated you to go on a completely new path?

I’ve been painting my whole life in my spare time – a lot of paintings for friends or as gifts. After returning to my work from the maternity leave, I realised that my job wasn’t really compatible with being a mother, and that I wasn’t that happy about my job either. I woke up one morning and told my husband, “I am not going back. I would like to paint”. My husband supported me; we rebuilt the house, made a studio for me, and I started painting every day. Since 2010, I’ve been paining fulltime.

One day, I had a family member visiting me, and I had a big canvas with the theme “Stairway to Heaven”. He saw it and asked me if I could paint “Life on Mars” of David Bowie. That was the beginning of a rock exhibition I had in 2010 with 20 different paintings based on music. I had “Knockin' on Heavens Doors”, “Stairway to Heaven”, “Another Brick in The Wall” – it was a great success and I sold all the paintings.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I get a lot of inspiration from music, but also from just walking around in Stockholm, or from the nature. I have a lot of paintings inspired by the water in Stockholm. I had an exhibition called “Blue Ocean”.

Most of your paintings are abstract – waves and explosions of colour interlacing with different materials such as mosaics, mirror glass, sand or even door knockers and antique keys. How do you choose the things you put on your canvas?

The door knockers have been very popular. I will have an exhibition in October-November and a lot of paintings will have door knockers. The inspiration came in 2010, when I had that exhibition where I chose 20 different songs. One of them was “Knockin' on Heaven’s Doors”. I had an old door knocker from a friend, I looked at it and I got inspired to do two big paintings for that song.

A central motif in your paintings seems to be revolving around the “golden age” of rock. Either through different messages or collages, you can find references to Pink Floyd, Queen, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Elvis or Cash, to name only a few. Is there a reason why you chose rock music? Could it be pop, for example?

It could be any kind of music. It was only the first exhibition that was inspired by rock music. I am more into iconic songs than doing a painting inspired by a song from 2015.

What messages do you want your paintings to send? Some of them seem to say “dream, smile, love, live”.
Sometimes I just want people to be happy. I want them to stand up and remember to live now. I have a lot of paintings with the message “You – Remember to think about yourself”.

You have imprinted a bit of your creative universe on a VITA Silvia. Can you tell us the story behind the painting you made on our lamp?

I saw the lamp and I was working in my gallery. I said to myself, “If I had to think of a song for the lamp, what it should be?” The first song that came to my mind was “Imagine”. I was thinking about that song and that is the reason why I started with some darker colours for the top. I was thinking about the night, about dreaming and about peace.

Does the lamp you painted send a message? You talk about dreaming…

Yes, the night turns into day and it gives the day a lot of colour. I want to send the message, “Colour your life”, as I always write on some of my paintings. You only live once, you need to live in the moment.

What did inspire you to be VITA’s artist for a good cause in Stockholm?

The fact that it was for a good cause. I was inspired when I did a painting for the Cancer Foundation in Denmark, and I was thinking that this is an easy way to give something, to help other people. It feels good to do something that I am good at, and to help other people. It was also a fun project, a new challenge. I’ve been painting only on canvases for the past years, so this was something different.

If you were to send a message to the people who will bid on your creation, what would it be?

The two words that are really important to me: “now” and “you”. It’s important that you are happy before you can make other people happy.