Bob68 years old from Sweden, Back home
The artist, journalist, photographer, writer, musician and editor Bengt O Björklund was born in Stockholm 1949. In 1968 he landed in jail in Istanbul for $ 20 worth of hash and met a bunch of international artists, poets and musicians. It was then he embarked on his artistic voyage as well as learning to cook, do yoga and generally get a life.
The source of his inspiration in Turkey was his Japanese friend, the artist Koji Morrishita and the Italian artist, poet, and Dadaist Antonio Rasile. When Bengt came back to Sweden 1973 he made up his mind about painting and decided to be an artist and started to work seriously. After a short trip through Europe he moved in to an old caretakers apartment with his own entrance at S:t Paulsgatan in 1974 at the south centre of Stockholm, close to Mariatorget. He painted every day intensively for six months, always by night. the hours were long. It was not unusual that he sat by the easel for in stretches of twelve hours. He sat painting by the window and often there were people knocking on his window. Sometimes they entered and bought a painting.
Light was important and the expansion of light in the paintings he made kept him spellbound by the easel.
Towards the summer of 1974 Chris Atcherley, a British musician and an old friend from his sojourn with Turkish jails, turned up in a removal truck, a big Luton van, and wanted Bengt to join him and go to England and start a band. And so it happened. Bengt moved to Bolton to start a rock & roll band. There he also attended Bolton College of Art for a term. His paintings were left for safe keep in Copenhagen.
1975 Bengt was back in Copenhagen and met the American folksinger and gallery owner Joe Banks. Joe offered Bengt to exhibit his oil paintings at the gallery, which he did. That was his first public exhibition. One year later Det genombrutna fönstret – Breaking through the window, his first book of poetry, was published at Inferi. Inferi also had a paper that frequently published the accounts of his travels through Europe. Two years later Inferi published Nådsökarna – Seekers of grace, his second book of poetry.
1983, after living a few years up in north of Sweden touring with a rock and reggae band, he moved to Brazil after having been invited by Beto Quadros. For one year he toured the state of Sao Paolo with a Brazilian band together with his American wife Rose.
1990 Bengt returned from Brazil to Sweden. He had during those years worked as a musician, a presenter of rock music on a radio station in São José dos Campos, baker, and English teacher. The last three years he ran his own employment agency in one of Rio’s favelas together with Mara, a Brazilian woman he met in a bar in Copacabana.
1996, the same year he met his current wife Gertrude; he met the American artist Harvey Tristan Cropper. That was the start of a new artistic era and at the same a continuation of the work he had started in the mid seventies.
Bengt has had many exhibitions since then in various galleries, churches, city administrative buildings and restaurants.
Bengt had a successful exhibition last summer, 2005, where the City of Stockholm bought one of his bigger canvases.
Since the late nineties Bengt found his way back to poetry via Internet and all its many readers. Since then he has been published in many Swedish anthologies. Bengt has written in English since his Turkish days, mostly because no one understood his mother tongue Swedish, but it is not until now, he feels, that his English words have made peace with his intention.
Since 2001 Bengt works as a journalist on É Romani Glinda, Sweden’s only Roma paper and he has been the editor of Aurora, a poetry magazine that comes four times a year. Besides having published four books of poetry in Swedish he is included in at least ten different anthologies.
Bengt also runs an art site on the Internet: www.andrasidan.nu