Interview with artist Jonas Pehrsson

Jonas Pehrsson was born in 1971 and lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. He is a self-taught multi-artist who paints both abstract and figurative. Jonas’ portraits explore the concept of taking the mind out of the creative process to enable a more honest expression and try to capture the qualities and emotions often hidden from sight. Each piece has a delicate, melancholy expression with a rough application of color. So far, his works have been represented in Sweden, Spain, Austria, Germany, and England.

Jonas, tell us about yourself.

I would describe myself as a very creative person who always has more ideas than time. Which means that some projects take a very long time to complete, and I like to end up outside my comfort zone, and that's when I feel I develop.

When did you first realize that it is an art career you want to pursue? Was being an artist always your dream?

My mother always said I was drawing and painting before I could walk, and as a child, I would rather sit inside and paint than play with the other kids, so my whole life is marked by color. I can't say that I wanted to be an artist, but I've probably always just been one. It was during the pandemic that I dared to show my paintings to a larger audience, and the response was very large and welcoming.

Could you describe what your love is or feels like with your painting?

When I paint, I feel great freedom as I go with the flow and let it be what it is. It also becomes a moment's meditation where I am just in the moment.

How do you go about creating your piece? What do you focus on?

When I start a new painting, I always start with one of my ideas. Then it never turned out how I thought, which is fun and surprising. Sometimes it goes completely wrong, and you have to start over; sometimes, it turns out better than you thought. My focus is usually not to have a lot of performance anxiety but to let go and have fun. It's just color. Everything doesn't have to be so nice and perfect all the time.

Can you tell us the medium and materials you use for your artwork? What freedom do you find in these tools combined with your color palette?

I paint with acrylic paint because it dries faster than oil, which is good as sometimes I can be a bit impatient and want it to be done. But at the same time, the process must take its time. The color scale I use changes all the time, and it happens that I don't even think which color but take a tube at random. In this way, the painting can take on a different meaning than intended.

One of my favorite pieces by you is “The Dreamer, 2021” I love the colors, the mood, and the facial features. Where did the idea for this piece come from?

That painting was one of three faces I received an order for (The original hangs in Spain), so there I was given free rein to create something based on the colors in the customer's room. Then I used Canvy to create a room in similar colors and placed the paintings to show the client how it would look roughly. It was also that painting that made many people outside of Sweden discover my painting. I have also made prints of this which have been sold to countless countries worldwide.

How did you go about figuring out your style? Did you intentionally work for it, or did it just form throughout time?

I think about my style myself many times, if I even have a style. But figuratively abstract may well describe my painting. Because I am very playful in my creation and want to try new things so as not to end up in a box. I want to change and develop all the time, not stagnate, and just do the same thing all the time.

Do you keep learning art? If so, what are the sources you use the most?

I'm learning all the time, which makes painting so incredibly fun and rewarding. I get inspiration from so much, but it can be pictures from books and magazines, social media, and other artists, but the result must always leave some kind of feeling. Trying to create exciting contrasts by mixing the soft fine and the raw stripped, the dirty sheer.

You have joined multiple solo and group exhibitions. What was the experience like, and which is the most unforgettable exhibition that sticks in your mind?

Exhibitions are always fun, the opportunity to show your art for real to real people. Hear what they think, how they interpret a painting, and what feelings they get. My solo exhibition, "Face the reflection,” must still be the exhibition that I think has been the most unforgettable. Then I did everything myself regarding premises, concept, PR, and press releases. Several newspapers wrote about it, which got many visitors that I wouldn't have reached otherwise. Several were interested in art from cities other than Stockholm. An exhibition that also sold many paintings.

I’ve seen you’re using Canvy and often tagging us in your posts and stories on your Instagram! Can you tell us about your experience with us?

Canvy is a good way to show how a painting can look in different environments, especially if it is someone who can't come by and look at the painting in real life. Canvy makes the art a little more alive and also helps me see where a painting would do well. It is also very easy to use, and I have also used it as an aid to show how it could look in a buyer's home.

If everything goes the way you plan, what is the best possible life you dream of 10 years from now?

In ten years, I hope to paint and make a living from it 100%. That I still think it's fun and that I'm developing. I hope that art lovers like and appreciate what I create regardless of where they are in the world.

Lastly, can you share what you are working on that you’re excited about right now?

I will take part in the book "Nordic art guide 2023", a book that shows about 80 Nordic artists, and I have six paintings in it—expected to come out in March 2023. I am also participating in the competition to be on the cover of the book.

Right now, I'm working on a project that is very exciting, a new way for me to express myself. While it is a colorful and inclusive meeting, it is also a political stance. I hope this project will get much attention, as it is something that I personally have not seen before. I also try to make these paintings very playful so they will appeal to many people, so they end up on many people's walls.

Find Jonas Pehrsson and his artwork here.