An interview with Danish Illustrator, Joanna Jensen, Our Featured Artist of The Week! Joanna has developed a strong artistic identity through her experimental watercolours, which will fly you away to one of her tranquil worlds that she creates within her pieces. Using vibrant, marbled textures, contrasted with beautifully detailed fine line illustrations, Joanna’s work will take you on a journey into the mind of a brilliant Artist…
Firstly, introduce Joanna Jensen to all of those who aren’t familiar with you yet…
Hi! I’m Joanna. A 27 year old Danish Illustrator and Art Historian, based in a lovely little house on the outskirts of Aarhus.
You have a very strong and unique style of Illustration, have you always created your artwork in this way?
Thank you so much! Nope, I certainly have not always painted the way I paint now. One of the big things that really drives me, is experimentation with the material and medium. And experimentation equals (to me definitely) development! As a kiddo, I loved to draw portraits with pen and pencil. I feel like now, that it was a good place to start. Later on in my teens, and at Art School, I painted with oil paints all the time. I just loved how thick and pigmented they were – that was when I fell in love with textures and vibrant qualities in different painting mediums. At this point I had never really painted much with watercolours, as I do now.
You manage to combine these abstract and almost galactic watercolours with fine line illustrations in such a controlled and thoughtful fashion. Would you be willing to share a little insight into your creative process?
The process of creating one of my paintings, usually takes at least 3 days, sometimes 3 weeks (depending on the size). The experimental and fun part is always the watercolours, and texturizing. Today I was thinking that I might add in some coffee with my paint – coffee is good for more than one thing, let me tell you. Many years of working with different materials has let me to find some good combinations where the paint works almost kind of chemically, but I do like to keep it a little to my self, kind of like the baker that doesn’t give his recipe away.
“It’s like flying away in your own world…”
Your subject matters are particularly abstract, but they still manage to resemble natural forms such as bodies, faces, mountains and planets. Where do you find the inspiration for the subjects in your pieces?
My inspirations are so weird [laughs], sometimes I think I just paint a state of mind that I’m in really. One thing I can say for sure is, I rarely plan out an image too much before I paint. I love to just start painting, and then, when the paint is drying, it turns into something or someone. I can see the lines that I need to draw to bring out a creature or a place. One of my most popular series – the “New World” series, is worlds, rising in the universe. Once a lady walked by my booth at a design market and said something lovely – “It’s like flying away in your own world”. That was a saying that made good sense to me, and I actually suddenly understood why I loved to paint these worlds so much. I also love to paint abstract faces – Most of them are resting peacefully, which to me resembles the good life, resting peacefully and happily… and if there is a cat nearby, that’s pretty nice too.
Some of your more Graphic Design based work, such as your ‘Milk Packaging Concept’, is really great – are you looking to get more into the commercial side of the industry?
Uhh thank you so much! I’m dreaming of doing packaging design. It’s tough to get ‘inside’ in the commercial world, but I would love to work with it in the future. The reason why I love packaging design is because it can add a magical touch to any product, I think. I wouldn’t mind doing more commercial work at all. I’m educated as an Art Historian and has worked in fancy Art Galleries where artistic production is viewed upon as kind of holy (and not at all commercial), but I think art can be anything, and should be for everyone, everyday.
You seem to always have events or shows going on and your artwork receives great publicity. Do you have any motivational or useful tips for anyone wanting to get their work out there?
There’s a great saying: “Believe in your heart it knows everything”. I knew since I was 8 years old, that this was what I wanted to do, but self doubt and people telling me that it’s impossible to make it as an artist/illustrator made me go in safer directions, so to speak. I have no regrets though, I’m happy with the journey that I’ve been on, but damn, I’ve spent a lot of time not believing in myself, and that’s silly. If you work hard and act with kindness and playfulness, I think great things are bound to happen to you.
Found out more about the lovely, Joanna Jensen, and see more of her work…