• Per Ove Sleen

  • STUDIO45

    Studio45 is a one man outfit supplying art illustrations and design on a high and professional level. Besides publishing all sorts of art and graphics (print & web), I also write, perform and publish music. Studio45 Produces and publishes graphic novels and subsequent video productions of the same novels for web and the commercial print market. Podcast and vidcast are in the workings.
  • STUDIO45 on Flickr

Oslo a London in miniature?

To say Oslo is a small copy of London is more than just a fare stretch…It’s..it’s…ok it’s just to get people to read this post OK!?

Oslo City

So let’s get down to it :-)

Thursday was the highpoint of my holiday so fare. It was such a great and exciting day.
I met a lot of nice people and had long conversations, and I shot a full chip’o great pix.
But the absolutely wildest thing that day was me finding an ART SCHOOL! totally different from anything I’ve ever heard off.

“Strykejernet” Art school entrance

All my life I wanted to study art, but it never came too for various reasons.
The traditional art institutions has a much to rigid and “set in stone” attitude towards art creation and exposure for my taste.
The way the traditional art schools have dealt with the digitization of the art world, also leaves a lot to wish for.
After having employed a few artists out of the traditional educational system here in Norway a few years ago, I am more than a little shocked about how little they were capable of.
My impression is that our educational system are run by idealists, but it doesn’t work out the way it should.
They teach their students how it could and should have been (according to their “out of touch with the real world” philosophy), but in reality things are slightly different.
This render the students unprepared for the world that meets them when they leave the protective cocoon that a school is in many ways.

The school I found on Thursday does things a bit different, and the guy who runs the school (according to Eivind and Synniva) is himself a working and practicing artist.
I would presume this sees too it that things are a bit closer to reality, and makes what one learns a lot more valuable.

The school is called “Strykejernet”.
That’s Norwegian and means “The Iron” ( an iron as for ironing your shirt).

The school was brought to my attention simply by the fact that the buildings it resides in are decorated by the students with some of the coolest graffiti I ever saw.

This was the first and longest
wall of art I saw

I was just strolling along the river and decided to leave the path along the river and cross through town towards “Karl Johan’s Gate” and the “Busker’s pitch” to see if any of my busking friends was working at the time.

The river. Check the broken
trunk in the river. It was torn
of by lightening firing hundreds
of lightening strikes as quick
as a machine gun, breaking
hundreds of trees and branches
of trees.

I left the path through “Brenneriveien” and walked right in to a revelation…sort of.


There were the most incredible graffiti covering every inch of wall in sight.
My jaw dropped, and there is most likely still a dent in the asphalt were I stood.
I started taking pictures, and before to long I ran in to people and was dragged up in to this network of contemporary art.

I just love this urban guerrilla
sort of statement art.

“Strykejernet” is situated in “Brenneriveien” smack in the center of Oslo, and as such a natural place to take off from the river if you are strolling along “Akerselva”.

The moment you step in to the street you realize you’ve entered something very different.

If this isn’t the coolest…
A cutout

Dead end graffiti

There’s a lot of cultural related activities and business going down here, and also one of Oslo’s best profiled and most used alternative music/art/poetry clubs “Blå” is also situated here in this visual explosion of a street.
I also ran in to a small streak of luck.
I met two people that was really nice and including in their way.
They could tell me a lot about the school and how it is run.
One of them have been studying there for 1 year, and she was head over heels about the school and it’s facilities.

Eivind….a house friend and enthusiastic
advocate of the school so to speak

Synniva … A very promising student
of this
noble institution

I stayed and conversed with these two young ones for a good six hours, and I must say it was some of the most pleasant conversation I’ve had for very long time.
Before I knew, it was 23:00 and i had to go.
But I will call the numbers they gave me, and see if I might enroll in the program a year for starters.

Before all this I also had a long and relaxed stroll through the “Grunerlokka” part of Oslo.

“Markveien” on “Grunerløkka”

It’s an area that was built in the late nineteenth century, and has a very nice Victorian feel to its architecture.

Victorian inspired architecture on

Every two blocks you have beautiful little parks with grass and trees casting shade.
The parks were originally planned in to the city structure back then, and have been kept in the same style.

“Olaf Rhyes Plass” is one of the many
parks on “Grunerløkka”

It’s beautiful and very pleasant. Each park covers a block both ways.

This part of town was made with people in mind, and it is a perfect place for interacting with people. It beats the internet any old time.

Two young people enjoying the urban room

20 years ago you could buy very cheap real estate in this area, and a some of my friends made very good money buying flats for around 60 000,- (Norwegian kroner) and sold again 15 years later for 2 mill.(Norwegian kroner).

On the left one can see old buildings
that have been plastered up to get a
contemporary look…looks nice I think,
but too expencive.

Today this part of Oslo has been ruined sort of, by real estate developers.
Most of the original little shops and bars with personality and flair are gone.
In their place we get expensive, classy and hip coffee shops, disco, bars, night clubs and high fashion clothes and shoe stores.
And of course the price ore the rent fee of a flat is no longer realistic for average people.
But the place is still beautiful, and you can find decent places to eat, drink and shop.

“Markveien” on “Grunerløkka”

One of these special and very personal joints is a shop with the name “Birkelundens Lille Ostebutikk”, a cheese shop situated in “Thorvald Meyers gate”.

Cheese in “Markveien”

It’s in a bright and inviting little local with two storefront windows and an entrench.
In front of the shop there’s little tables and and chairs were you can sit and enjoy the nice and very special atmosphere this part of town has to offer.
And don’t forget the parks are for free, and so is the view.

Lots of atmosphere

They offer a small taste of heaven here in front of the store.
You can sample cheese, wine and even patè while sitting outside on the sidewalk enjoying the sight of young and lightly dressed people in this most beautiful part of town.
It is not an old shop with long traditions, but the concept as such is aimed at giving the impression of old traditions and well tested methods.
As such it is very well executed, both visually and conceptually.

A very cozy little shop

The people involved in this project seam to be very skilled in their trade, and determined to make the absolutely best facility possible under circumstances given.
If you find yourself in the surrounding of Oslo with a little time to spear, don’t let this opportunity pass you by…

On my stroll through Oslo and Grunerløkka I found the board shop “King of the hill Longboardshop”

“King Of The Hill Longboardshop”

The boarding scene is something that has made it’s presence more visible in the urban picture over the last 20 years.
Before that it was more of a underground phenomena.
It still remains a underground thing through that some of the people involved in the scene are very much anarchists, dope smokers, alternative life stylists and onwards in that general direction.
These people very often romanticizes the outlaw side of it.
Even though I personally think there is a stigma attached to the scene that never really was a true picture of the whole thing, and that most kids riding boards are cool and nice people like most of us.

I am also sort of drawn to this scene, even though I am shit scared of riding boards :-)
but as a designer and artist I am intrigued by the whole visual part of it, and I am also a sort of anarchistic directed person in many ways.

Oslo is a very divers town with a lot of environmental variations.
The population has also become international, colorful and diverse. This contributes to the all over fell of being a globally conscious city, were people care about each other and their city.

I can easily see myself spending a year ore two studying and working here.
Even though there is a huge difference between Oslo in summer and Oslo in wintertime.
In the winter Oslo is as cold and heartless as any old city, but I do have my family not too fare away when stationed in Norway.

After I departed from the art school I went down to the “busker’s pitch” on “Egertorvet” on Oslo’s main shopping and boozing street “Karl Johan’s gate”.

One of the facades towards “Egertorvet”
on “Karl Johan’s Gate”

It was late, but I could hear Doc beating out those low down blues riffs.
You could hear him thumping out his rock’n roll gospel from three blocks away.
It was a mighty picture with that old street giant up against the lit Oslo Castle.
It touches an old anarchists heart to see this king of underground entrepreneurs, as a victory statue against the last remains of a feudal past.

Dr Harmonica

Lance Wakely it says in his passport, but on the streets of Europe, Asia and US of A he goes by the noble name/title of Dr. Harmonica. And that ladies and gangsters, is a tittle earned the hard way.

Dr Harmonica on Karl Johan’s Gate 2008

Doc has been a steady guest in Oslo and also the rest of Norway just about every year since the late 70’s.
We will do a later post on Lance on a future busker’s blog ore web page.
There will also be future possibilities to hear Doc’s music.
Lawrence and I are still anticipating doing a podcast, and Doc would of course be a very sought after interview object for us in that context.
Doc’s been there and done it all, I know for a fact he’s got lots of great memories and anecdotes he could share with us if he chooses to do so.
It’s worth it to hook up too our feed just for that….so don’t be stranger’s my beloved and apreciated reader (‘s …?).

I met two more old friends on “Karl Johan’s gate” namely Jim Pizza an old and good friend who spends his time busking and traveling the world

Jim Pizza

I also met another friend that I just met on the busker’s festival up om Beitostølen last year.
I only remember his first name, it’s also Jim.
But I do remember he plays a mean guitar.

“Jim Guitar”

Motty was there as well



Oslo, Friends, Photosession and low down Blues

There has been some lazy nice days lately.
We’ve put the vid on hold for a spell, and concentrate on getting everything ready for a problem free release for the first and long awaited Tassili album at the end of the summer or in the fall.


I’ve had time to take a look at were my friend Nina Schliemann lives these days.
Nina is a very talented photographer among others (she is also a very accomplished singers/composers in her own rights and a good graphic designer), and as such Ketil and I agreed it would be a great input to the project if Nina did the “Band photos” (also to be used in many other contexts), so Ketil hired her.
We all met yesterday in “Noa’s Ark” (long time since I had a client meeting in a bar :-) at the very top of “Grunerløkka”.
Nina took us down to the river (Akerselva) only a few 100 meter from the bar.
To be smack in the middle of a capitol city (OK one of the smaller ones), this river is something special.

Ketil & Izza

The photographer in deep

Nina are readying Ketil
for the shot

Like most cities around the world, Oslo has grown up around a river that runs the total length of the city.
Most modern cites today have these old waterways and power suppliers covered up for the most part, but Oslo not so.
You can actually follow the river all the way over land, and the entire stretch has for the most part trees and nature around it.
It is a genuine piece of nature, a green lounge in the middle of the city that continues way in to the deep Norwegian woods before it becomes hundreds of little creeks and streams.
There for us all to enjoy.

Akerselva… the river in the city

You can even catch fish there now after they cleaned it up I’ve been told.
Most of the old industry that used the river for power supply and as a waste dump, are gone and the buildings are either torn down ore in many cases they have been fixed up and are now used for different cultural purposes and/ore rented out as very expensive office space.
Akerselva is a beautiful piece of Oslo that you experience the best on foot.

I stayed with Nina and the guys for an hour and shot a few dents in my chip as well. Some for later press package maybe, and then I shot a few of the occasion as such ( for you my readers only), then I had to split for an appointment.
Later I ran in to Nina, Ketil and Izza again down by the “Eventyrbrua” where they were doing some last shots.
I am looking very much forward to see the results of Nina’s work.
Everybody seemed to have had a nice and relaxed few hours together (I can state that for the time I was ther), if just a fragment of the good vibes from this afternoon photo session are captured on chip…it was all worth it.
I’ll post as soon as I can lay my hands on those pix….

Before I left from down “Buskers pitch” on Karljohans gate Lance “Doc Harmonica” Wakley rolled in on his blues rig, But my camera was at my room by then so I didn’t get a shot that day.
Nina did though, so I got one from her..
Doc is something else and must be seen as well as heard.

As I write this it is about 00:50 here in Oslo it is still nice and bright outside, so I think I’ll just curl up and call it a day…It’s been a long one…see’ya.


Expanded job

It is always very satisfying when a job delivered generates satisfactory in a way that leads to more work from the same customer, and in this case on the same project.
One of the band members (Kjetil Kielland Lund) is a good friend of mine, and he’s been the link between me and the band.

Kjetil Kielland Lund

We had long phone conversations, and I got more and more drawn in to the project as we kept at it.
I find that when you work with people like Kjetil, it usually pays off let them 100% in on the creative process.
The result of this process has been me getting deeper in to the project on other levels than just design and illustrating.
Even though I am a professional singer, musician, composer and recording artist since 30 – 40 years myself, I got in on a much too late stage to be at any help technically or musically.
So the visual presentation and web marketing was what was left for me to pound in to shape.

Tassili is a product that very much offers itself up for web marketing/sales.
Cos in many ways it is a so called niche product and thus very difficult to market locally or in just one country.
But for people that are in to this sort of super modern, cool, chilled, ethnic and soulful beats and riffs, this stuff is heaven sent.
It’s TLC on scrooms man! dig that low rhythm and your baby’s ass gonna wipe the floor dude.
It’s a mighty mix mama, so you go right ahead have a slice.

Napoleon is still a very actual theme in this studio, but I am going for a little holiday in three days time, but I hope to have something I can flog to the punters this summer before I leave.

One of the pages from my “Europe on fire”
graphic novel about Napoleons life and
legacy. There is a lot more to be seen here

But we’ll see, Napoleon or no Napoleon, I am going on holiday no matter what.
I am looking so much forward to see all my friends in Oslo this summer.

I also plan to purchase a laptop while in Oslo, that’ll keep me online while traveling.
You see I plan to go on traveling for some time, before I make a semi permanent move to Denmark this fall sometime.
So to keep my “empire” running I need a laptop obviously.


CD cover for very interesting and progressive Norwegian/Marocan Folk/Jazz/Rock/HipHop/chill and Sahara Blues Band

I am sorry to say it has been a while since I’ve had time to addressee you fine people, but here I am back at it again.
The Napoleon Graphic Novel project is and have been taking absolutely 100% of my time fore more than two month now, but I am very close to finale and last hand on the story and pictures, and they will soon cross the world to Australia to let MR. muskulareteeth have a go at doing a video out of the pictures.
Looking very much forward to that.

But today I am at you for another matter all together.
For the time being I have not been accepting any other jobs than the ones I create myself.
My income have had to be generated from that. But now I am in the process of changing a few things and I will be on the road and in transit for the next 6 month at least, so I need a laptop and there fore some extra cash.
To get this money I have in first instance accepted one brief from a good friend whom need a CD cover in the first place, but in the long run also will need posters, blog, visit cards, fliers, tickets and a all over visual design for marketing purposes.
I reckon this will bring me a long way in order to get a laptop with sufficient screen res., a powerful graphics card and at least two gig memory preferably three to four gig.

What you see here is the motive we have agreed on and the same motive on the background we are anticipating and with the header as it will stand.

Last you se one of the alternatives I drew…