“I don’t consider myself a brand, I am just living life”-Martin Bengtsson
Martin BengtssonDreams, they drive many young individuals to achieving successful careers, we dream of becoming astronauts, pilots, doctors, sporting icons and celebrity personas. Sometimes those dreams are reached and often they turn out to be not as desirable as we had once dreamt. Turning that disappointment into something more desirable becomes a massive challenge but when one does then you have to acknowledge it and give credit where credit is due.
Meeting Martin Bengtsson after hearing his story you imagine this tiger of a guy. He greets me with a warm handshake and genuine smile which literally throws me off guard. With a chilled persona and charming attitude you can’t imagine that he was once a football player and now running an art gallery in the middle of Berlin. Looking the part of a musician fresh out of varsity, I soon find out this Swedish born legend in the making has actually recorded his first album, so he is a musician as well. Wait this is just too much information in one go let’s start again!
When I was first told about Martin’s story I couldn’t believe it myself, the kid was 23 and he had done so much. So when I finally trekked my way through the streets of Berlin I didn’t know what to expect, what I found was an individual with a zest for life. Martin’s story begins with a common but mostly unachievable dream of becoming a professional footballer. This passion for football lead him to none other than European football giant Inter Milan. He managed to crack the nod of one of the big time football clubs, an achievement worth its weight in gold. However that dream shattered into pieces, his intentions and ambitions of enjoying life whilst playing football never cultured and he found himself lost in the realms of the hungry appetite that is professional football. A step too close for comfort as Martin nearly did the unthinkable by trying to commit suicide, a wake up call that saw him leave the famous Stadio Giuseppe Meazza (aka San Siro) and head back home to Sweden. A choice that sparked a new beginning in the life of one Martin Bengtsson.“I realized that when I was at Inter Milan it wasn’t the life that I wanted…”
Martin began a new chapter in his life by writing a book based on his experience as a football player and though he hardly has any association with the beautiful game anymore he will always have it as a grounding for life. His book is relevant and makes one see the harsher and challenging sides of becoming a professional sportsman. Written in Swedish the book is called “I skuggan av San Siro” in English “In the shadow of San Siro”. The book has become a popular read in Sweden but its conversion and production into a theatrical play has shown that its interpretation has gained a lot of interest.
“We have a German translation of the play being worked on, which is a really cool expansion”
Martin is now based in Berlin where he started an Art Gallery called the Black Jim Gallery. His ambitions of promoting art and making a career out of music are mindfully explosive. It shows a complete U-turn in his career prospects and how life can change dramatically, it just takes those dramatic changes to be turned into a positive outcome. His story is one of an out the box career, I put forward to him that he is going to become a brand on his own and he argues emphatically against that “…it’s about having the ability to be free and enjoy life”.
What this 23 year old is going to achieve and conquer next, well that is anyone’s guess. All we know that it’s going to be one heck of a story!
Favourite Food: Italian
Favourite Country: Sweden
Favourite City: Berlin
Favourite Book: The Master & Margarita
Favourite Movie: Science of Sleep
Check out Martin's website: http://www.martinbengtsson.se/