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  • Christine Jaksch

INTERVIEW: Artist Jolanta Johnsson




Can you tell us a bit about your artistic career and how you came to create NFT art?


Can you tell us how you discovered your passion for art? My passion for art did not have to be discovered. Even as a child I enjoyed drawing and painting. I could spend many hours doing this. At the time, I did not yet know that this was a "passion". As you get older, your awareness of the value of having a passion grows. Only the manifestation of it doesn't change: spending many hours making art.

How would you describe your artistic style?

I would describe my art style as 'my style'. Of course, I do not pretend to start something new in art with 'my' style. I would compare it to writing. We write using the same alphabet, and everyone has their own style of writing. I would like to meet my 'writing in art' style. Anyway, it arises on its own. Intuition pushes me to create, and then the images are in 'some style'. And when I put them together in a group and look at them - I find that they are in my style. Additionally, when I contextualise my paintings from the past with the present ones I notice a certain continuity in style, although it is undergoing some changes. In general, I can say that I am simplifying and aiming for synthesis.

What role does collaboration with other artists play in your work?

As an artist, I am a loner. I do not collaborate in the artistic field with other artists. But I do look at their works. Their view influences my work. In this sense, we artists collaborate with each other.

How does your environment or your travels influence your artistic work?

My environment is forests, meadows and lakes. Every day I feel how they inspire me to work.

Every time I am about to embark on a journey, I think with reluctance about having to leave my studio and interrupt the rhythm of my work. But then, when I return, I feel that the journey has enriched me with new impressions and new images. Travel has a positive effect.

What inspires you most in your artistic work?

The strongest source of inspiration for me is nature. I create paintings that feature landscapes, plants, flowers and trees. I like to combine these elements with figurative motifs. I create paintings that could be titled with a universal title: Man in Nature, and this is indeed the case.

What is most important to you in creating your artwork?

The most important factor that guides me in the creative process is 'being true to myself'. It may sound pretentious, but that is what it is all about. To faithfully follow your hunches and emotions, to express them in your own way. Not to give in to the temptation to use tricks, for example, that I have seen in other artist’s works, or even ways that worked well in my previous painting. Every new painting is a new road into the unknown that has to be travelled.

Can you tell us about a particular project or artwork where you felt especially challenged?

The project that challenged me was a series of paintings that constituted my dissertation work. I received my doctorate in fine arts from the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow in 2012. The title of the series is: THE HUMAN FIGURE AND ITS PLACE IN SPACE AS AN EXPRESSION OF BEING IN SOLITUDE AND IN COMMUNITY.


Can you give us a deep insight into your creative process and what considerations and steps are involved?

In my case, the creative process takes 'almost always'. Throughout the day, I am repeatedly thought of by my currently painted images. In the first stage, I design the painting. Then I transfer the design to the canvas. I cover it with paint. This stage goes quickly. Then the actual work begins - the search for colour and texture, all so that the painting expresses what I intended. I apply layers of paint, wait for it to dry, then another. Sometimes I sand them down and peel them off. Sometimes I give up certain elements of the composition. Even those I thought were good. In general, you can't get too attached to something that seems to have 'worked'. You have to be ruthless with yourself in the search process. In the end, an image is created - it begins to live its life and speaks to me.

To what extent are you willing to go beyond your artistic boundaries or take on new challenges?

Every time I start a new work, I want to go beyond my artistic limits and take on new challenges. Otherwise, I would just duplicate what I already know. Without challenges, there is no art.


How important is it to you to convey a certain message or statement in your artworks?

The message is very important to me. I want the viewers to receive it and to feel that my paintings express something and that they have been created for a reason. I avoid pedagogy and moralizing, presenting something directly. I want my compositions to evoke in people, through their form and colours, feelings that are important to them, perhaps even reflections. I want to speak the language of art.

To what extent does success play a role in your work as an artist and how do you define this term for yourself?

For me, the success is every time someone buys my work and wants to stay with it. The help of the gallery is important. An ongoing collaboration with a gallery whose owner understands the artist and promotes him - that is success.

What is your goal or vision and where do you want to go with your work?

My aim is to 'describe the world'. It is an audacious and perhaps unrealistic goal. But what the hell, that's what I want! It pushes me to make more and more images from different subject areas. Where will these lead me? I don't know. In art it's like in life - many unknowns.


To what extent do you aim to convey a particular message or statement with your art?

If I have to answer the question about the particular message I want to include in my art - it's an expression of concern for us humans! We are capable of good things but also of doing bad things. And the life of each of us contains elements of a drama with questions to which we have to find the answers ourselves.


How do you assess the financial value of your artworks and what factors do you rely on to set the price?

When setting the price of my works, I take into account their size, the technique in which they were made, as well as the average prices prevailing on the art market.




What challenges have you overcome in your career and how have you faced them?

I can say with certainty that I have risen to the challenge of maintaining continuity in my artistic work in all the years that have passed since receiving my degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. A lot has happened in the meantime. My two daughters are now grown up. And I continue to create, with the enormous support of my husband.


How did you sell your first artworks and how did you establish yourself in the international art scene?

The first works were sold in Sweden and Poland. These are two countries with which I have family ties. Then, over time, my works found buyers in other European countries and in the United States.


Can you tell us about a special experience in your artistic career?

A special experience in my artistic career was the participation in an international art event in Vienna , Vienna Showcase, Museum of Modern Art, at Schonbrun Palace. There I met artists from all over the world.


How do you see the future of the art market and your role in it?

I am not worried about the future of the art market. I can see that art is being sold and bought in spite of many problems of global scope. Even the Covid epidemic has not stopped people from being interested in art. In my country, Poland, the art market has grown significantly during this period. And what role can I play as an artist? Simply to make my works and offer them to the market. In this case, galleries, art auctions are the channel I use.


How important is the connection between art and technology to you?

In parallel to my artistic work, I work as a computer graphic designer. I enjoy working with digital images. Often the designs for paintings painted in oil are initially created on the computer. I would like the digital paintings to become autonomous works and to take up more space in my artwork. These are plans for the future.


How do you deal with the digitalisation of the art market and the changes that come with it?

My works are presented digitally in online galleries. They are available also as NFT .


How do you see the coexistence of the traditional art market and the digital art market in the future?

I think that this coexistence will continue, that the two worlds will complement each other. Digital art will not cause traditional art to disappear. Being with an oil painting or printmaking gives an experience that is not present in the digital world.


To what extent does the current social and political situation influence your artistic work?

The current social and political situation reinforces my desire to express intense feelings about the condition of humanity. I have already mentioned this in response to one of the previous questions.


How do you deal with criticism of your artworks and how important is the public reception of your works to you?

Negative reception of my work – I try to endure. I am open to criticism. If the opinions of others open my eyes wider and help me on my way towards my goal - i.e. a fulfilled work - that's good. Such constructive criticism is very difficult to come by. On the other hand, when it is sterile, negative criticism, I let it be uttered. I know that the most important critic is myself in the space of time. I simply see more with time and I know what to change in the painting. The positive response from the public at my exhibition is an extremely pleasant experience. But only when it is in harmony with my own feeling that the exhibition is valuable.


What projects or goals do you have for the future in your artistic career?

My future plans are to continue the audacious project of 'describing the world' in my style, which may be changing. I want to show a series of my paintings in gallery exhibitions. I am open to suggestions and invitations


You would like to learn more about Jolanta Johnsson?

Our partner gallery ARTMEA is available for all questions.




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