Atle Østrem, born in 1980, is a Norwegian visual artist currently living and working in Oslo, Norway. He spent the latter half of the 90s as a graffiti artist and then in the 2000s began working on canvas. Østrem does not identify as a street artist or a fine artist but defines his work as something in between.
Ugliness and Beauty Combined
Fascinated by the contrasts of beauty and ugliness that we witness all around us, Østrem has coined the expression ‘beauglyful’ to describe his own work, which sits on the boundary between the two. In his work, Østrem embraces the spontaneity of mistakes, using them to take the painting in a new and unexpected direction, illustrating the idea of finding beauty in something perceived as ugly.
The hybrid animal-human cartoonesque characters that inhabit his ‘beauglyful’ universe are simultaneously sinister and playful. They capture the existentialism of everyday life and the fleeting emotions that each of us experiences. Graffiti-inspired text coexists with the figures, providing insight into the angst they are experiencing.
Østrem has exhibited extensively in group and solo shows in his native Norway, in Germany and Switzerland and further afield in the United States. He has been commissioned to create pieces by numerous prominent brands, galleries and institutions.