When Jesper was working with wooden blocks for printing woodcuts, he started wondering if it wasn’t possible to treat the body of a guitar in the same way.
His interest in guitars dates back to his teenage years, when he started playing and making his own guitars. So he bought a guitar body to try out this idea. He carved it with his woodcutting tools, filled in the grooves with paint and then lacquered it. Then he put it up for sale on Ebay and someone in Austria bought it immediately.
“‘Wow, maybe there’s some interest in this,’ I thought, and got more guitars and started to spend more time and effort on developing this aspect of my art.”
Since then, Jesper has made around fifty hand-carved guitars that have attracted both attention and interest. Several of them were exhibited at the Dalarna Museum.
Naturally, musicians are also drawn to these expressive guitars that have so much attitude. Both Thåström and Dregen have Jesper’s creations in their guitar collections.
“Dregen sent up two Gibson guitars for me to work on. One was a red ES 345, the same kind that Chuck Berry always played. That made me nervous, but Dregen said, ‘Just go for it – go bananas.’ He’s used it often, among other places I’ve seen it was on “Moraeus and Company” and at the Polar Music Prize awards.”
Other talented guitarists like Tommy Denander, a high-demand studio musician, and the renowned Andreas Lidberg Mörtsell have also bought guitars, says Jesper.
Every guitar Jesper makes has a unique design with figures and patterns taken from Jesper’s own imagination, inspired by both Picasso and the graffiti-like work of American artist Keith Haring. But a few guitars also have elements taken from the traditional kurbits patterns of Dalarna.
“I’ve never really thought much about kurbits despite living in Dalarna. It was actually the Gothenberg band Avatar that ordered three guitars with a kurbits design – it’s like part of their image with the knee socks and tassels and all that,” explains Jesper.
A dream job, according to Jesper, would be to transform a Fender Telecaster Thinline into the household god Nick Cave.
Those interested in seeing Jesper’s guitars can view ten of them on display at the Hotel Scandic Malmen in Stockholm between 23 March and 23 April.