Inspired by her brother Andreas, Sandra Fransson’s art will take your breath away

Inspired by her brother Andreas, Sandra Fransson’s art will take your breath away

Twenty-eight-year old Sandra Fransson has always loved to paint; she’s always had a gift for the artistic medium, too. Being related to the late, great adventurer, Andreas, it’s not surprising that she’s got a knack for mountain-life, as well. Combine the two forces, and in rare cases a truly remarkable package emerges. This is one such instance.

Hailing from Luleå, Sweden, Sandra Fransson now makes her home in the nation’s capital of Stockholm. She first started skiing when she was 4 years old and ultimately became a ski instructor at the age of 16. Upon completing high school, she traveled the globe for six years, teaching skiing all the while. She’s a fully certified ski instructor (ISIA) and a Level 1 snowboard instructor, as well.

After returning to Sweden following her time abroad, the lure of art-making pulled heavy on Fransson. She opted to pursue a career as an artist and hasn’t looked back. Mosaic became her trademark style. “I use that for all my paintings,” says Fransson. “I just love how different materials give more structure and depth to the artwork.”

Fransson’s paintings are also riddled with depth of a different, sort; she draws a great deal of inspiration from her brother, his mountaineering feats and his unique outlook on life. In viewing the images below, it’s clear just how much Andreas, along with the theme of mountains, plays into Fransson’s artwork. Today, September 29, 2015—the one-year anniversary of Andreas’ passing—Sandra gives us the low-down on her career, as well as the new charity established in Andreas’ honor: Safe Passions.

Sandra Portrait

Artist, Sandra Fransson

Q&A with Sandra Fransson:

In admiring your artwork, it’s clear that mountains and skiing are a big influence in your life. How did you first get into the sport, and how often do you find yourself exploring in the hills?

First of all, where I’m from, the winters are very long. You have no choice but to like the snow and to make the most out of the season. For me, skiing was the natural choice because we have a ski cottage in the Finnish mountains, and every school holiday we went there to ski. Then, to have a big brother who lived and breathed skiing of course put its mark on me. So, I ended up following in my brother’s footsteps in many ways. I went to the same outdoor high school as him. There, we learned a lot about being out in nature, skiing and climbing. After high school, I started to chase the winter season, and my first winter [away from Sweden] was spent at Mt. Hotham, in Australia.

Nowadays, I try to go skiing twice a year, but starting my own art business has been my focus these last years. I had to prioritize my art before traveling. Now, as my business is moving in the right direction, my need for nature and skiing is getting greater and greater, so there will be more skiing in my life again.

You have traveled extensively, and worked as a ski instructor. What have been some of the places you’ve visited? What’s the most rewarding thing for you about ski instructing?

The most rewarding thing with teaching skiing are the encounters with so many different kinds of people from so many different social classes. You can learn so much from each other. My brother once told me that when he was teaching skiing he had a goal to learn something new from each and every client. But, of course, making someone’s day by helping them overcome a fear in their skiing or helping out with a difficulty in their skiing techniques is always beautiful.

Ski instructing was also my ticket to see the world. Thanks to my brother’s recommendation, I ended up spending that first ski season [away from Sweden] at Mt. Hotham. I ended up doing six back-to-back seasons over there. It’s such a beautiful ski resort, mostly because of the friendly and laid-back atmosphere. Regarding winter in the northern hemisphere, I have done two seasons in Vail, Colorado; it’s so different from the ski resorts back home in Sweden. The first time I went there I was in shock, because I had never seen such a fancy ski resort before. I also went to Hemsedal, Norway, to be closer to home, so that I could [complete] some more ski instructor certification levels. I did one beautiful season in Verbier, Switzerland; there’s lots of fun skiing to do over there. Lastly, I spent a season in Chamonix, France, but I went there just to ski, not to teach. It was so nice to be closer to Andreas and actually live in the same place.

Tell me about your relationship with Andreas. How did you get along when you were younger, and then as you aged? Did you ski together often?

Andreas was my big brother. Four years separated us. He’s always been protective of me—I guess like most big brothers are—but at the same time pushing me to grow. I have always been able to go to him for help and support, from my younger years until he died. He was, in a loving way, the most bluntly honest person I know, and sometimes it was hard to hear the truth. But because of his honesty, he pushed me to truly listen to my heart and dared me to follow my dreams.

Of course, our relationship did change a bit through the years. Like any relationship, it changes as you develop and grow. The last years we spent together were really beautiful. After [one of his] accidents, six years ago when he broke his neck and almost died, I guess we both realized that you never know how long you are here. So, for me it feels in some kind of crazy way that I already gotten five extra years with him, and for that I am thankful.

Andreas traveled a lot in the wintertime, so I saw him mostly in the summertime. We climbed together more than we skied. But, I enjoyed hanging out together in other ways. We are both spiritual people, so I just enjoyed sitting down and talking with him, while drinking tea from his big teacups.

We shared one ski day that I will never forget. It was my birthday, and my wish was to go ski some powder. It was Easter-time, so there were a lot of people in Chamonix, and in the village people just kept talking about how little snow there was. But Andreas knew those mountains [like the back of] his hand, and he took me out for one of best powder days ever.

Andreas Portait Mosaic

Mosaic: Portrait of Andreas

How did Andreas’ adventures influence your art before his passing? How has his influence on you shifted in the past year?

My brother was the one who believed in my art before I did. Without his support, I don’t know if I would have dared to follow this path. The biggest gift he has given me in this life is to help me open my eyes, daring me to see life from a bigger picture and starting to listen to my inner self. His death has made me dig deeper inwards and I feel that my art has a greater depth now—something that was missing before.

You’ve founded Safe Passions in Andreas’ honor. Its mission is to help youths and young adults learn more about safety in the mountains. What will your role be within the organization?

I will make sure that the great ideas we have for this organization will not only be ideas, but projects that actually happen. I wanted to start Safe Passions as a way to do something good out of everything sad that has happened. There will soon be more info on the Safe Passions homepage regarding events that we will do this winter, all to encourage safety in the mountains. And if [readers] have any good ideas or want to help out in any way, contact us via andreasfransson.se.

With the help of Salomon, you’re now producing artwork for a special collection of skis. How is that experience thus far? [The ski will be available only via bidding. All proceeds will benefit Safe Passions.] Do you have any other projects like this in store?

It’s been a beautiful experience designing this ski, and in some ways it has helped me heal a little bit. While producing the artwork, I dug into Andreas’ life from my perspective. I had to deal with a lot of emotions that came up. It almost felt like we did this project together, because he was a big part in developing this [model of] ski, [the Mtn Lab]. This piece is really painted with my love for my brother. I’m so grateful that Salomon wanted to support this project.


“From darkness into the light…” by Sandra Fransson

The skis’ topsheet design is based on the mosaic [above]. If people are curious about how the bidding will work, more info will soon come up on Safe Passions’ homepage. And if you want to support Safe Passions, but can’t bid on the ski, there will also be a poster for sale with the same motif.

What are a few of your favorite pieces that you’ve produced?

All of my artwork has a special meaning to me. Some helped me invent new techniques, while other pieces are special because they have an emotional meaning to me. But, my latest work—my designs for the ski and poster to support Safe Passions—is probably my favorite at the moment.

How have people received your artwork thus far? Are you keeping busy filling orders?

The most normal response to my art is, “I’m not usually interested in art, and to be honest I don’t know much about it. But your art moved me and that’s why I bought it.” I love that my artwork inspires people who are not usually that interested in art. But, most of all I hope that I can inspire others to follow their dreams. Life is too short to not do things that give you some meaning in your life.

And yes, I’m quite busy. Right now, I have some fun exhibits coming up here in Stockholm. Then, I’m doing art for a ski hotel here in Sweden and that’s taking up a lot of my time. I’m also starting to get into designing art for different products. I’m about to start on a ski collection for next year. [More on that later.]

Which other artists do you look to for inspiration?

No one. Other artists don’t really inspire me. Being out in nature, meeting inspiring people and meditating is what inspires me. I believe creativity comes to you when you have a peaceful mind; it helps you see and feel the things that come your way. For those who want to follow their dreams, [I recommend] finding inspiring mentors and surrounding [yourself] with great people who lift you.

I don’t want work and fun to be separated. For me, my work as an artist, that is my life. I hope I can keep on living my dream, where I stay open-minded and creative. My dream is simply to keep being able to afford working as an artist, while still enjoying doing so.

"Journey" this painting makes me really miss skiing and winter.. #journey #art #skitouring

A photo posted by Sandra Fransson's Art (@sandraskonst) on

For more information about Safe Passions, visit andreasfransson.se. For more information regarding Sandra Fransson’s art, go to sandrafransson.se. You can also follow Sandra on Instagram, here.

Read about Sandra’s inspiration for the Safe Passions x Salomon ski collaboration on the next page.

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