Here is one cartoonist whom we all missed on our local television kids’ channel – Øistein Kristiansen, 58, a Norwegian cartoonist and designer, who managed to spark our inner creativity at such a young age.
Øistein was known to be the face of children’s arts and crafts comedy shows in Singapore back in the early 2000s. He has produced many shows for MediaCorp such as Art Factory, Cows n Crayons, Super Einstein, and Einstein’s Tingkat.
All these shows carry a different entertainment concept from a superhero-themed art show to a cooking and art show. This is to encourage creative skills among the younger generation.
Many young adults today still remember his nostalgic shows and wonder, why did he stop his production in Singapore and what is he doing now?
“SIR, IT’S ØISTEIN!”
You may be wondering why his artist name is Einstein instead of Øistein. Well, back in 1992, Øistein received an opportunity to perform in Singapore’s first comedy club. It was his first-ever show here in Singapore.
He was just a backpacker when he arrived in Singapore for the first time, skipping his initial plan to travel from Bali to Bangkok. Øistein decided to venture and explore what Singapore has to offer that is in line with his creative skills be it comedy or caricatures.
During his first walk on Tanglin Street, he saw a handwritten poster calling out for talents for Singapore’s first comedy club.
“Instantly, I got this idea, and I thought what if I do a comedy show where I draw caricatures on the board and crack jokes at the same time?”, recalled Øistein, in an exclusive interview with The Republican Post over Zoom in December 2023.
The manager of the club was interested in his idea and invited him to perform on the opening night. Full of excitement yet nervous about his first show, Øistein agreed.
During the opening night, many newcomers came. One of them was Kumar, a well-known Singaporean comedian and television host today in Singapore.
The presenter of the show then asked Øistein for his name, but due to the loud noise from the crowd, the presenter presented it as Einstein instead, confused with the pronunciation.
“The presenter asked me, ‘what’s your name?’ It was very loud, so I shouted, ‘sir, it’s Øistein!’ and he said ‘what? Einstein?’ and I corrected him. Later, when he presented me to the audience, he said, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome all the way from Norway, Einstein!’. That’s how I got my name”, explained Øistein.
Øistein then got up and presented his first show. Not just the audience find it amusing, but also the manager of the club.
The manager wanted him to do more shows here in Singapore and that’s when his career took off with many companies such as Mediacorp wanting to work with him.
CREATIVITY TAKES FLIGHT
After working with many companies from different countries such as China and India, Øistein decided to leave Singapore in 2010 as his company back in Norway was starting to become very successful.
Due to a huge demand for Øistein services such as his live shows, he decided to return to his homeland and settle down there instead. He wanted to take care of his health better too.
“I have to look after my health, I need to be in one place, and produce TV in one place. So, that was what I did now,” explained Øistein.
When he came back to Norway, he was sucked into a whirlwind of business and opportunities from countries such as Turkey, United States, Canada, France, and England.
Øistein started producing television shows in Norway and exporting them all around the world, more than a hundred countries to date. His show in Norway is called, ‘Øistein Blyant’ which means Øistein pencil.
It has always been his dream to have a global aspiration and to share his knowledge and skills with the world.
For many years now, Øistein has been continuing to build on this global aspiration in teaching the world how to draw. He even has a slogan called, ‘Draw a Better World’ and right now, he is working on a brand-new show for his audience.
“For the first time, I am doing a new show in parallel to each other. One is the regular TV in Norway for the global market. Another is a special school edition for the schools around the world to use my stuff”, said Øistein full of pride.
The special school edition is particularly to be used in classrooms and for parents to teach their kids to expand their learning experience.
Speaking of expanding one’s learning experience, Øistein has also been producing over a hundred of his very own products such as activity books.
Not only that, Øistein is planning to do a masterclass catering to his fans who are adults too since many have been asking him to start one for grown-ups. The concept will be on the global environment which is coming out in 2024.
“The title of the show has not been set yet but is likely to do with animals and planets. It involves me and three animated kids traveling around the world, visiting different environments”, explained Øistein.
Øistein hopes to continue teaching his fans of all ages from around the world by providing different tips and advice, especially for those who love to draw and design.
Learning to draw can sometimes feel like an almost impossible task and one may feel that there is so much to learn to be good. The first tip from Øistein himself is to draw a little bit every day. Don’t let it be a chore but instead, make it something you enjoy doing.
“I always carry a small sketch pad and pencils in my pockets. It is obligatory to have it. When I am out and about, that’s when I pull out my pad and think of what to draw,” shared Øistein.
Being open to what you draw every day can be a good thing too, like drawing the food you just ate, an object you see, or a person you are with at that very moment. As you draw a little every day, who knows, you might just get better and enjoy yourselves, he said.
The second tip is to draw ugly. As crazy as it sounds, drawing ugly leads you to not have high expectations of what you draw to avoid feeling pressured or disappointed with the end results.
“Say to yourself, ‘ I am going to draw the ugliest piece of crap’ and you will start to loosen up because you don’t take it seriously,” advised Øistein.
By doing this, one may just be surprised at how good their drawing turned out to be and be pleased with the outcome.
THE EINSTEIN WE SHOULD ALWAYS REMEMBER
Up till today, Øistein still receives messages on his social media from fans in Singapore, adoring and missing his past works. They also thanked him for being a huge part of their childhood.
“I want them to remember that I had a higher message underneath all the creative works and comedy. There was a deeper message – to care for all living creatures and protect nature,” said Øistein.
He has been a huge advocate for respecting all lives, be it humans, animals, or plants. Øistein has been focused on delivering this message to his audience ever since he started his career.
He hopes that his audience will continue to support his work and gain meaningful and valuable lessons be it from his past shows or current.
With a voice full of hope, Øistein remarked: “I hope that many of my previous fans will continue with me, and who knows, I can help people to elevate even more with my shows. That’s my goal.”
For more information, visit http://oistein.com/.