Davey Hammarsten


Art Biography

I was born in India in 1952 on the foothills of Himalaya.

1967 I came to Sweden to study the final year of primary school and further education in high school.

1977 I entered the KV-art school in Gothenburg where I studied for two years.

In 1979 I entered Hovedskou art school in Gothenburg.

1980 I had a brake from art school to travel in India one year. It was of vital importance for the content of my pictures. Especially inspiring was the trip to Ladakh and the encounter with the Tibetan culture.

Black / white photographs from Ladakh 1980.

Impressions of Ladakh, Varanasi and Nepal was processed for several years to come.

1981 I studied painting further one year. Shared a studio with some fellow students where I worked for 20 years. The paintings was now much about my experiences in India.

1982 I continued my art education at Hodvedskous graphic department where lithography was of great interest. Most of the graphic series from Varanasi was made during the period 1982-1985 as well as some of the images from Ladakh under the title "To the east of Nun Kun".

Several lithographs from the Nun Kun was prepared in the Artists Collective Workshop after finishing the art studies.

Nun Kun are two twin peaks of the Himalayas and the graphics are fantasies, shapes that extrapolates what I saw with elements of science fiction from the lost Shangri-La.

East of the Nun Kun. Drawings and graphics

Varanasi ghats (steps towards the river) reflects people's search for the meaning of life but also the pursuit towards a sublime state, an eternal now, a timelessness. The strong blinding light carves out shadowy figures seeking an ascent to nothingness, nirvana.

Prints and drawings Varanasi ghats

1984/85 turn of the year. I was a few very productive weeks in Rome. Drawing was in the center.

Roman drawings

1985 I was awarded Erik Eriksson scholarship of 25 000 Skr

Many paintings from Varansi and the Himalayas was made in the studio the latter part of the 80´s. I can not date them precisely because many were processed for a long time, sometimes up to 5-6 pieces at a time over several years. Several were made after the trip to India 1987. The paintings from the Himalayas is very much about the roads to Tibet, the pilgrimage, the high passes.

Varanasi paintings 1983-1988

Himalayas paintings 1985-1992

1986, I made my second trip to Italy shortly after I finished a course in mural painting. My interest for al fresco led me to Firenze, Arezzo and Assisi, where Giotto and Piero della Francesca murals existed.

Drawings, photographs from Assisi. Arezzo and Firence.


Two al fresco inspired by Varanasi and Ladakh


1987 I traveled in India for 5 months. Himalayas was after all my great interest, especially productive was the time in Kulu Valley with travelogue, drawings and watercolors, mixed with a little photography. Now I was caught and totally immersed in mountain and rock motifs.

Kulu valey 1987 Watercolours,  drawings & photos


Thoughts on the Himalayas, mountains and Buddhism led to major themes as "World Mountain", "Crystal Mountain" and "Terra" that dominated my work until the first major solo exhibition in 1994 and 1995. It is themes that still lie close to me which is constantly fascinating and still working my mind. The Buddhist stupa as a symbol of world axis and illustrating the world mountain collecting the thoughts of past, present and future. The central triptych "World Mountain" with Origins, Passed roads and Reconstruction contains cosmological ideas, criticism of civilization and human failings. Triptych "Crystal Mountain" with Mono, Poly, and Infinit combines mathematical thoughts with growing and spontaneous creation. The monolith becomes a Tower of Babel in the primeval sea, Polymorphic compounds forming the heavenly bodies and the Infinite decomposition vibrates chaotic as the smallest components of our existence.

World Mountain intro

World Mountain 1994

A short period when I discovered the of the world of computers and their ability to produce graphics I made experiments with random images within certain restrictions. Chaos was the engine of growth process in which mathematical calculations repeated until they filled the paper, most likely as when you play with the pen.

Random Picture Project 1993

After the exhibitions I began to orient myself to the biological sphere as a counterweight to the "crystalline" I constantly had worked. The forms became increasingly deformed bodies of animals and humans. I saw it in the rock, stone, trees and landscape.

Morphology 1995-1998

Studio work consisted also a lot of still life studies for the most part "degenerated" into dystopian fantasies, those on civilizations that run amok.

Structures 1995-1998

Economic difficulties and much other kind of work to survive dominated the period up to 2001, when I had to move to another studio.

In the late 80s and most of the 90s I worked for living on cleaning hospitals, give art courses and assist at arts high school. Late 90s I worked in a cinema as technical manager. I joined some group exhibitions. I made a lot of model drawing and photography became the dominant means of expression.

Azores 2002

Himalaya 2004

The drawing together with travelogue resulted in the booklet

 Holidays in Portugal in 2005 (Swedish)

Drawing has followed me all the time. Many drawings are not collected for a theme. They live their own life, abstract, ambiguous. Here is a series old and new artwork.

Travelogues began to become increasingly common. Udaipur from the 2008 trip to India and a nice ending far down in the mythical Rajastan.

Udaipur 2008 (Swedish)

The travelogue from India trip in 2010 was made along the way, there are several articles interjected. The trip went among others to Darjeeling and Sikkim.

India  2010

A large number of photo series have emerged since 2006. Of these I would highlight

Slush 2006

Asphalt 2008

Covers 2009

The Fangorn forest 2010

Into the reeds 2007

Interfoliage 2007

Shadows 2008

A large number of watercolors and drawings made during 2011 India trip. A travelogue as e-book in swedish with watercolors and drawings can be seen here.

India  2011 a brief summary

The impressions from the mountains appear in many freely imaginative watercolors made in the studio after returning home.

  Watercolors 2010

 Watercolors 2011

The theme Crystal Mountain was hilighted after impressions from the Himalayan trip 2010 and 2011. I have combined fantasies of Shangri-La with the spontaneous crystalline structure and remnants of bygone civilization. The geological morphological form and the human abodes form a symbiosis difficult to distinguish. In the spring of 2012, I made the exhibition "Crystal Mountain" in my own studio. Here again the triptych Crystal Mountain from1994 had a central position.

Crystal Mountain 2012 Studio Exhibition

2012 during fall I travelled with a Swedish group to Tibet. The impressions were processed in a series of ink drawings in my studio after the trip. They were exhibited during the Culture Night October 11, 2013 by the theme "Light and Darkness over Tibet" in my own studio. The travelogue "Tibetan Journey" was published at the same time. My dreams have always been going to Tibet. Unfortunately, the Tibetan situation is getting worse, and their history is tragic. The culture live in guarded sanctuaries with severe restrictions. Hopes have been around for a more liberal policy of the Chinese coverment affix to all minorities, religions and cultures within China's borders. Unfortunately, it have been disappointing several times.

Tibet Letter, a brief summary 

Studio Exhibition Culture Night 2013 "Light and Darkness over Tibet"

Tibet Ink Drawings 2013

Tibet Journey 2012 with text and photos. (in Swedish) 

Tibet Journey in PDF (in Swedish)

All drawings from Tibet.



Chile Journey 21/2-28/3 2014 

To Santiago, Puerto Natale, Torres del Paine, Chiloe och Valparaiso.

Travelogue  (in Swedish)



Studio exhibition "Hidden trails to unseen cities" 2014 was a return to the crystal mountain with a new perspective. The mountains are now in an almost pattern-like shape. 

 Studio Exhibition Culture Night 2014