Brian Cheung


Thoughts, photos and anecdotes from my travels through Norway, Scotland and Finland.

Idle Days

I haven't been out in the last few days, with the exception of a few strolls out onto the beach to chase sheep and kick at all the dead jellyfish washed up by the tide. Some of them are huge, and they look more like giant sacks of pus than anything formerly living. 

On Saturday evening we were all invited to the camel trainer's 50th birthday, which doubled as a 25th anniversary with his wife and a do over of his wife's 50th a few years back which was cancelled when some workplace accident resulted in the loss of a hand. Wild stuff. We were treated to a bathtub of fish soup, an extensive dessert/cake spread, live music, and lots of curious and awkward meet-and-greets with the locals who at best only seemed to have a fleeting idea of what an artist residency was and why we were here. Still, they were all too happy to accommodate us and to keep our cups constantly refilled.

When it came down to speeches of course I didn't catch most of it, but the Mongolian camel trainer was universally understood when he came up to sing a really lovely traditional song/chant to give thanks. With the help of his translator they presented the birthday boy with a huge bottle of Mongolian vodka and the promise of a newborn camel from his herd back at home. It was a wonderful sentiment, and the crowd mostly went wild when they found out, but I couldn't help but wonder how difficult/costly it would be to transport a live camel from inner Mongolia over to far north Finnmark.

I finished the drawing up top only this morning. I don't usually resort to a straight up pencil/graphite drawing, but I guess this is the ideal place to spread out and try new things without much consequence. The interiors of the barn and the boathouse are beautifully aged and worn. I really wanted to capture some of the textures and a bit of the light filtering through the grubby windows. This drawing probably took longer than it should have, but I hope to do a follow up over the next few days. 

In a few hours almost all of us will be heading off to take the ferry back to the mainland for a little road trip! Sofie and Viktor have rented a van and we're driving to the town of Karasjok further inland. Karasjok is something of a capital for the indigenous Sami population in Finnmark and I'm looking forward to loading up my brain with Sami stuff over the next few days.