Clara Bessijelle Johansson is a Swedish-born artist who will be exhibiting her work at Interesting Art Show, coming to Weird Things (998 Bathurst St) on Thursday, January 17. We chatted with her this week to find out more about her life and her work.
SDTC: Tell us a bit about yourself.
CBJ: My name is Clara Bessijelle Johansson. I was born in Sweden, and that’s where I currently live and work. I come from a creative family where art, in different forms, was always around. I always liked making things and being creative, but I guess I never thought of making a career in art.
I have worked in many different fields and kept being creative on the side. I started doing comics, combining images and text around 2009. [It] took me to NY, where I moved in 2011 until 2015, when I moved back to Sweden. Now and then I do some illustrations, but I’ve been mostly working full-time with decorative painting in apartment buildings.
What will you be exhibiting at the Weird Things show?
I will be showing a mix of drawings, including drawings from my comic book called Face Man, which was published in 2012 by Domino Books.
Walk us through your process. Do you carefully map out a drawing/comic beforehand, or is it automatic later?
I don’t like sketching. If I work too much on a drawing I feel like it loses something that I can’t come back to. It’s better for me to start fresh with a new image instead or leave it as it is. If I start with drawing a character, I usually get a feeling what that character would say and then I work from there, creating an environment that would suit the character. I like details a lot, and when I start I can’t really stop!
Why do you prefer drawing over other media?
I usually prefer drawing because of the amount of control I have. It’s very direct and doesn’t have a lot of extra steps that can affect my original intention.
How would you describe your current body of work?
I recently made some illustrations for e-flux journal #95 for a text by Elizabeth Povinelli. It was a challenge to illustrate someone else’s text because I am used to writing my own. It was a good experience and I’m happy about the drawings.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m mostly inspired by films and people I’ve met. It is often their atmosphere that inspires me. It can also come from music. I like art that has a personal expression, often outsider art.
What do you hope people take away from your work?
It’s completely up to them. I have no intention of making them react in a certain way.
Check out Clara’s drawings here.