From artist to paint-maker

For me, it started with me training as an artist at the Forum’s painting school in Malmö in the early 1980s. As an artist, I preferred to paint with linseed oil paint rather than other paints. For me, my pictures achieved a light and depth that I felt was missing in all other painting. But as an artist, one is curious by nature. Therefore, it seemed natural for me to experiment with making my own linseed oil paints. From there, it was easy to see the opportunities. I painted on wood with linseed oil paint, I painted on stone with linseed oil paint, I painted on metal. My paint production developed to the point where my artist colleagues started to buy my paint. And with that, the seed was planted for Ottosson’s Färgmakeri.

In 1989, I registered the company Gunnar Ottosson Färgmakeri, and a couple of years later, the family and the company moved to Genarp, Sweden. As a result, paint production became my main occupation, though I still make art and exhibit. In the following years during the 1990s, the scope of company operations increased. In 1992, I bought my first major rolling mill, from the Danish Riksbank, which had used it to make printing ink for banknotes. I hired my first employees in the following years. My children also had no problem finding a summer job. Word of mouth gave us more and more customers, and at the turn of the millennium, our premises on Lillegårdsvägen had become too crowded. Our paint company then bought an industrial lot about 1,000 yards from the paint shop. At the same time we converted into a limited liability company.

During the 2000s, we have seen a renaissance in linseed oil paint, both in Sweden and abroad, and today we export paint to the Nordic countries, the Baltics, Poland, Slovakia, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, and New Zealand. Exports account for about a third of our sales. We have been contacted by and delivered paint to castles, churches, palaces, and other historic buildings. We’ve noticed a big increase in private individuals’ interest in using linseed oil paint, so our product is no longer just for those who carry out building preservation, but is for everyone.

/Gunnar Ottosson