Janeric Johansson

Some Thoughts About My Art

I have now been working full time as an artist for more then 40 years. One of the reasons is that I never was accepted by the art schools in Sweden. So I am a so-called autodidact.

The first 12 years I was working with just black and white pencil drawings. During that time I was only exhibiting in Sweden and Scandinavia, but after a longer stay in Israel 1980 with two exhibitions I have made more exhibitions abroad than in Sweden. I never followed the main roads of how to make a career as an artist, but gone through doors when they have been opened up for me, and found myself exhibiting in countries which has been in a special situations of changes, like Israel, Latvia, Russia, North Africa and China. In many of these countries I have made exhibitions, which have been dealing with the countries special situation. Already from the beginning I have realised that these exhibitions shouldn’t make me rich. It has more been the opposite. But without these exhibitions my life should have been very poor. The possibilities to meet an audience who have been touched by my art and in many ways have made a difference, make my life as an artist more meaningful.

In the beginning of my time as an artist I was expecting every viewer to experience the same thing as I have been thinking. But if a painting says the same thing to everyone it’s just propaganda. True art is a language, which talks different to different people, because of our experiences and background. Because of that my paintings are not finished before they have met its audience. And for me it is very important to be present in my exhibitions as much as possible to meet with the people, listen to others point of view, and maybe first then realise what I have done.

I also want to involve the audience in my art. It is not possible to be passive when you looking to my three dimensional paintings. You must move your whole body, and first then my art is working. When you move in the room you discover that the paintings change completely up to 5 times and you have to change your first impression when you become a part of the artwork. This way working very well even in a country like China, where I cant communicate because of the language. I have found out that sometimes it works even better in China than in the west.

To make these 3 dimensional artworks I’m using galvanized metal. To make it possible to paint on the metal I first use salt acid. The metal itself reflect the light and I use this as a quality in my works. I like to make different expression in the same artwork, spontaneous paintings, sometimes with abstract forms, mostly done with acrylic, realistic pencil drawings mixed with oil, and sculptural elements. The last years I have combined these paintings with acrylic mixed with sand to create another structure.

After a while I made bigger and bigger paintings on metal and I called them ”heavy metal paintings”. But the last years I have changed my way of working and made most of my big paintings on canvas with some smaller parts of metal.

The drawings of horses you can see in my paintings are mostly symbols for people.
I’m going out from ideas, which I found interesting, and hope it can be interesting for other people too. But I also built my paintings for a special room. The space of an art gallery gives me ideas to create, the sizes and the compositions, and where in the world it is located also influence the result.

I like to make paintings out of words.  During the years I have used different language as Latin, Chinese, Hebrew, English, German, Russian and Arabic. Many of my titles are also a play with words and very often the beginning of an idea.


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