Welcome to Arte Birklaus.
My name is Niklas Björkeroth.
I am originally from Sweden, but now reside in Copenhagen, Denmark since more than a decade.
To pay for my rent, my sustenance, my caprices, and all of my various business endeavours, I work as a freelance night-shift nurse, but I long for the day when I can life off of my creative output alone.
Drawing is the first great passion that I can remember, for I can't remember a time when it wasn't, painting followed closely behind, and later overtook the first.
Even before I had thought much about it, I almost always tried to tell stories with my pictures, trying to make them come alive as I made them. For many years I thought that creating a comic was my destiny. My idol was Vincent Segrelles, who meticulously painted every panel in his historical science fiction "Mercenario" in oils.
I tried making many comics, but never really felt that they were good enough. It took many, many years to understand how I could combine pictures and words in a way that suited me. And several years after that until winter 2017/2018, when I wrote "The Illumination of Karen" (a fantasy novella) in a few weeks.
I am still working on the illustrations for that book, but with it, I believe I have found my way: Richly illustrated books.
I often say that starting to work on it made me fall in love with painting all over again, and about twice as much as ever before. Nothing before has enthused me more than illustrating my own world and my own words.
Before writing the novella, I had already started an exciting new project, called "ParaAstra".
I had decided that from that moment on, I would only paint pictures that adhered to, and expanded a fantasy world of my own making. "Para" = "neighbour" and "Astra" = "star" make up a word which signifies another world, where my imagination is god.
I have collected all pictures which I consider canon to this world, many picked from among those of my earlier works which I feel were already on the "right path", in a specific gallery in the "galleries" section.
Lately, I have also begun making forays into other creative fields, and thus am working on a fashion brand of my own, a video series on YouTube, and computer game programming. These are side projects, but I take them seriously. The video-series has its place on YouTube, but as the other two come to fruition, they will each receive a webpage of their own, which together with this one will form a trifecta, available from a common landing page.
The one I've taken the furthest is the fashion brand; I am currently testing the first couple of prototype items while several more are under early development by a workshop here in Denmark, where they are making mock-ups of my designs. It will probably take another year or so before I can actually start promoting the collection for sales, but you can already see a few pictures of me wearing mock-ups and prototypes on my Instagram account, which is named "birklaus".
As for the computer games; I feel partly like they are a possibility to let people step into my paintings, partly I just really like certain genres of games. I have been making table-top games for myself sporadically since my early teens, and now I want to expand this interest. But I am only beginning to learn about programming, so it will take time, maybe a year or two, before you will see anything concrete here.
It was only in 2018 that I really started working on my social media presence, creating content primarily for YouTube and Instagram, with some success. What I have achieved so far has shown me that this is probably the right way for me to continue. Most recently, I've begun making live-streams for YouTube when I paint.
What you will find on this website is mostly photographs of my paintings, and from my various art exhibitions, but you can also read my novella, albeit only partially illustrated. I add illustrations to it as I finish them.
Furthermore, there is the "Hall of Honour" in which appear avatars of all my supporters on Patreon. So far it's in its infancy, but I fully intend for it to become a "living" and entertaining feature for everyone to enjoy here on my website. A little art project on the side, if you like.
Lastly, there is "Patreon", a kind of crowd-sourcing service, through which you can support me with small, monthly donations (starting from 1 USD/month). If you do, you will get frequent and thorough updates on my art, as well as various rewards (depending on your level of support).
Thank you for reading this text, I hope you enjoy looking at my artwork as much as I enjoy creating it.
Support me on Patreon. Look at this video to learn more.