The magic of the Nerdrum School (from a writer’s perspective)


The Nerdrum School.

Some don’t have a clue and others have misunderstood the concept completely. People tend to pretend they know. Most of those people think that this is some kind of a spooky cult, and others just don’t see the point.

I am here to tell you the truth – and this time, from a writer’s perspective …


When I look back at my life – from the day I was only three years old, crawling around in the grass in-between students, painting themselves and each other at our farm in Norway – to where I am now, sitting by my desk, listening to Gustav Mahler’s Adagietto from his 5th symphony, reminiscing on the past – It doesn’t seem like time has gone by at all. Things remain the same; timeless.


I am surrounded by beauty everywhere I go. My father is still working diligently on his compositions and students from all over the world are watching him with amazement. Some afternoons, my mother will appear with coffee and cakes, and we will all be sitting in the studio or outside on the lawn – discussing philosophical ideas or political matters. Odd Nerdrum will be having his coffee in his atelier, lecturing young, aspiring painters about Aristotle and Kant – and what impact they have had on esthetics today.


I couldn’t wish for a better life … yet, I wanted to escape it multiple times during my teenage years. Why? I felt the urge to search for something new, a place even more thrilling and more exiting. Fact is, I left home, only to come back two years later – knowing that there wasn’t anything like the Nerdrum School out there … At least not for me.

Many things happened to me during my time away from this place. Both good and bad. However, I can safely say that I am learning more by spending one month here, than I have done by spending two whole years away from it.

Let me tell you the reason why …

On this school, we have a wonderful work-ethic. It is very easy to keep up with; You spend your whole day working on what you love. And that’s it.

It should be self-evident, but today’s perception of an artist or a painter – is not even close to our lifestyle. The students here don’t drink all day and paint when they feel like it. They don’t wait for the inspiration to hit them, while getting tipsy on absinthe or rum. They push through the difficult times, and if a painter’s block should occur – they look through Titian – or Rembrandt books to help them on their way.

How is this lifestyle convenient for a writer?

In so many ways – this type of living is ideal for anyone who’s doing something creative with their lives. In fact, I find painters and paintings to be a first-rate inspirational source for my writing. Not only because of the images they create on the canvass, but also the reason why they choose to do what they do; kitsch-painters who have studied under the guidance of my father – paint because they want to create something bigger than themselves. That is why time and the seasonal fashions connected to it – seem completely irrelevant when you you come to the Nerdrum School. By coming here, you begin to understand the fact that both writers and painters need to escape their time in order to create something truly great.



Oftentimes, I have noticed that all the students who apply have one thing in common;  they have been searching their whole lives for people to connect with.

And when they finally find their people, they feel blessed.

Blessed to talk about a mutual passion.

Blessed to be around their biggest idol.

Blessed to escape the modern world, and enter (what my sister likes to call it) «The garden of Eve». 

Another thing I have observed here, is that painters also feed on writers. Through them, they pick up on stories and make them alive by depicting them. And if you fail, you’re not considered incompetent in your profession. You just have to work harder. For this is a place where knowledge flows and talents come together. A place where there is no longer the question of who made this – but how it was made.




It is a place, where each day consists of an equal amount of both learning and doing. As Aristotle once said; «Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.»

On the Nerdrum School, the Master does both.



Aftur S. Nerdrum

(Ps: let me know in the comments below, if you want me to write more articles about this. What you are wondering about, if I should include something more etc.)


6 thoughts on “The magic of the Nerdrum School (from a writer’s perspective)”

  1. Thank you for sharing this, from your life with us. I have been very interested for some time to visit or attend the school. Is Your father still accepting students? Thanks for any info.

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