After graduating from Central St. Martins in 2008, Johan Andersson became the youngest ever person to be shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award and named as The Independent’s top 20 Artists 2008. His selected work was displayed at the National Portrait Gallery and in the same year he was also selected for the Jerwood Contemporary Painters prize.
Since then Andersson has gone onto exhibit work along side artists including Anish Kapoor, Tracy Emin, Sarah Lucas, Gavin Turk and Howard Hodgkin, and in 2010 was selected to exhibit work in support of BreakThrough Breast Cancer at The V&A Museum.
Andersson has exhibited and sold on the international art market including the Scope Art Fair in Basel and Cutlog in Paris. His work has also been displayed in major London Underground stations including Bond Street, Baker street and South Kensington.
In 2011 Andersson was featured in a six week documentary by Sky Arts called "Art of Survival", and was recently selected as a top 100 most influential creatives by TimeOut as well as being featured on a TED talk.
Toy Guns is a series speaking into issues of race, school shootings, gun accessibility and how gun culture is sold to children through toys. Kids deserve the freedom to study in school and enjoy their innocent years without the glorification of guns so heavy circulated in our gun driven culture divorced from the necessary accountability. The series of portraits comment on the careless nature of guns by depicting innocent lives juxtaposed against the glamorization of guns in the form of toys. Toy guns looks at the oblivious nature from a young age and the freedom kids have to brandish fake weapons and pretend to play killing games without no dire consequence in the future.
Andersson, through this series also implicitly explores the injustice of shootings touching upon issues of Police brutality and the #blacklivesmatter movement. The childrens hands represent thebridging of racial division and unity. The paintings are intended to feel slightly uncomfortable and to both provoke and confront this issue. They are poignant, beautiful and scary all at the same time.
Stripped bare, seen for who she is to the core, through intimacy and release of emotion. This piece shows a girl coming out of water, evoking purity and freedom and forces the viewer to confront an emotion within themselves.
#YOLO is a critical social commentary, painted in response to the narcissistic quality of modern popular culture. #YOLO juxtaposes the gravity of the Syrian Refugee Crisis and its victims with the self-absorption of social media, selfie sticks and contextually flippant phrases like YOLO (You Only Live Once) in Western culture.
'BLOOD AND WATER'
This piece is extremely emotional and powerful, but goes beyond commercialism and hits a different realm of collectors. For example this piece really brought healing the the girl, who was a sex worker from the Bronx. Her friends, who work in the same profession, broke down in tears after seeing it, commenting that she represented so many women they know. In this painting, I aimed to illuminate the juxtaposition between their abuse and pain and their breakthrough. Issues of generational female black slavery are subtly addressed. This painting brought a deep sense of restoration for me as an artist, allowing me to realize we can change lives through what we create.
The subject of this painting is a young girl my friend met on his travels through India. I often work with professional photographers to achieve the right image. The girl's eyes speak up for every youth in India, to bring reconciliation and hope. It's more representational than conceptual, but nonetheless evokes a strong emotional response due to the power of the eyes, which speak of truth and freedom. I kept my use of color fairly abstract, selecting almost-Monet type colors, with disrupted abstract smears of blue and pink around her face. This technique allows each viewer to see a very different image in her eyes, often a personal projection of truth or hope.
This is a 16-year-old trafficking survivor who I met. In painting her portrait, I focused on themes of rebirth breaking free from one's past. Accordingly, we photographed her coming out of a pool of water. As we were photographing her, the girl began to cry; I realized the process and painting helped restore value and dignity for her.
'CITY OF ANGELS'
We partnered with a Los Angeles youth homeless shelter Safe Place for Youth; this is one of the girls from the center. It’s a representational portrait aimed towards raising awareness of youth homelessness and supporting local causes that work to enrich the lives of at-risk youth. I learned a lot through this experience and how, as with trafficking victims, homelessness can happen to ordinary youth from normal families where they were kicked out. Los Angeles has the highest rate of homelessness in America, and to surviving in Los Angeles as a homeless youth becomes even more difficult without an ID, social security number, license and the right support.
Sweatshop Worker is one of the strongest pieces left from series Brand for Life, after Girl with Gucci Bag, which was purchased by George Lucas
This painting was based on a dream I had where I saw a guy on his knees in tears just having tried everything to satisfy in his life and needing something greater than himself, realizing that the world promised so much but never delivered. Out of heaven comes a voice "You're Right where I want you" in this moment as you are, in your weakness my strength and love is made known. ' it's an encounter which speaks into the man's truest identity and says 'this is who you are and you know you are' What I realize now about this prophetic dream is God's character has always been to use to foolish and weak things of the world to shame the wise and proud to show that it's his power doing it through ordinary people. It's his sick joke on the world that rejects him. It's a beautiful thing
In the Name of God depicts the hypocrisy behind ending lives over religion. The critical piece depicts a scene of religious figures and prophets from world religions as they care for the dying, the sick and the wounded.
GENTILE EMBRACE SERIES
‘Gentile Embrace’ is a provocative modern-day rendition of biblical scenes, including Da Vinci’s Last Supper, with Jesus Christ surrounded by more current figures that have been judged or outcast by society. The characters include the homeless, drug addicts, and convicts. The Gentile Embrace series is about updating Biblical scenes and asking ourselves which modern-day figures those stories would have included and also exposing religious hypocrisy.
The series stirs a reaction in the viewer to look deep within himself or herself to confront their false sense of inadequacy, suggesting that there is nobody who is exempt from God’s use. Throughout Biblical history, God has used gentle archetypes to shame the wise and proud, illuminating the strength in weakness. These lessons illustrate our hunger for a force greater than ourselves, allowing us to discover our true identity through the unveiling of unconditional love.
'In the Name of God' (to the left) depicts the hypocrisy behind ending lives over religion. The critical piece depicts a scene of religious figures and prophets from world religions as they care for the dying, the sick and the wounded.
BRAND FOR LIFE SERIES
SWEATSHOP WORKER, GIRL WITH GUCCI BAG
BRAND FOR LIFE is a reminder of the realities and effects of our consumerism, seeking to redefine iconography and to challenge perspectives by juxtaposing western branding to a wider story. The purpose is not to condemn corporate culture, but rather to reconnect popular products to the process of making them, highlighting its human cost.
With the explosion of social media, we live in a culture of self-elevation, performance and adoration rather than tangible accomplishment. BRAND FOR LIFE aims to challenge the superficiality of over-commercialisation, not through measures of shock but, rather, by acknowledging our connection to a wider humanity. The paintings bear no secrets, and are stripped down to just one core product. While the paintings are not commenting on these brands in themselves, the brands shown represent consumer icons as a whole.
• 14-17 Sept 2017. Start Art Fair, Saatchi Gallery, London, Art Unified
• 25-28 May 2017. Art Vancouver, Vancouver convention center, Canada, Art Unified
• 27-30 April 2017. Art Market San Francisco, USA, Art Unified
• 2-5 Mar 2017. SCOPE NY, New York Metropolitan Pavilion Chelsea, Art Unified, Booth 105
• 17-19 Feb 2017. Art Palm Springs, Axiom Contemporary, Palm Springs convention center
• 11-15 Jan 2017. LA Art Show, Los Angeles Booth 838
• 29th Nov- 4th Dec 2016. SCOPE Miami Basel, Miaim Florida Booth A21
• 14-19 June 2016. SCOPE Basel, Switzerland.
• 28-31 Jan 2016. LA Art show, Los Angeles.
• 1-6 Dec 2015. SCOPE Miami, Miami Florida
• 14-18 June 2015. SCOPE Basel, Basel Switzerland.
• 6-8 March 2015. SCOPE New York. New York City, New York.
• 14-18 January 2015. LA Art Show. Los Angeles, California.
• 2-7 December 2014. SCOPE Miami Basel. Miami, Florida.
• 4 February-27 March 2014. Oneself As Another. Royal West of England Museum. Bristol, United Kingdom.
• 9-13 October 2013. Strarta Art Fair. Saatchi Gallery, Stand 3A Gallery Different. London, United Kingdom.
• 4-31 July 2013. New Contemporary Portriature. Rook & Raven Gallery. London, United Kingdom.
• 14 June 8-11pm 2013. Generation of War. MDCI House. West Hollywood, Los Angeles.
• 11 Sept-20th October 2012. Brand For Life. de freo gallery, Augustrasse, Berlin.
• May 2012. Stolen Faces. Englefield House. Newbury, United Kingdom.
• May 2012. Candid Berlin. Universität der Künste Berlin. Hardenbergstrasse, Berlin.
• April 2011. Stolen Faces. The Future Gallery. Leicester Square, London, United Kingdom.
• December 2010. Breakthrough Breast Cancer. Victoria & Albert Museum. London, United Kingdom.
• 2009. Small is Beautiful. Flowers East Gallery. London, United Kingdom.
• 2009. Follow Your Art show & auction. Royal Institution of Great Britain. London, United Kingdom.
• 2009. Scope Basel Art Fair. Basel, Switzerland.
• 2009. Cutlog Art Fair. Bourse du Commerce de Paris. Paris, France.
• 2009. London Art Fair. James Freeman Gallery. London, United Kingdom.
• 2009. Next Art Fair. TheBunkerGallery. Chicago, IL, USA.
• 2009. ArtBarter. The Rag Factory, London, United Kingdom.
• 2009. Galeria Miquel Alzueta Group Show. Barcelona, Spain.
• 2009. The Seduction of Paint. Rollo Contemporary Art. London, United Kingdom.
• 2008. Small is Beautiful XXVI. Flowers East Gallery. London, United Kingdom.
• 2008. Central Saint Martin’s Degree Show. London, United Kingdom.
• 2008. Jerwood Contemporary Painters Exhibition. London, United Kingdom.
• 2007. BP Portrait Award Tour. Dean Gallery, National Galleries of Scotland.
• 2007. BP Portrait Award Tour. Laing Art Gallery. Newcastle, United Kingdom.
• 2007. BP Portrait Award. National Portrait Gallery. London, United Kingdom.
PRESS & AWARDS
• 2015. “Johan Andersson”. Arte al Limite. Chile.
• 2013. Painting & drawing award winner. Art Takes Paris. Judged by Metropolitan & Andy Warhol Museum.
• 2008. Jerwood Contemporary Painter’s Prize.
• 2007. BP Portrait Award, 3rd Prize. National Portrait Gallery. London, United Kingdom.
• 2013. Celeste Prize shortlist.
• 2013. The 100 Most influential creatives in Britain. TimeOut Britain.
• October 2012. Regents Park tube poster advertisement ‘The peace project’. Artbelow.
• 11 September 2012. “Painter creates clash of circumstance”. The Local. Germany.
• 4 October 2012. “Sixth Form Art students enjoy masterclass with Johan Andersson”. First Eleven magazine.
• 14-20 May 2012. Digital Projection at Oxford Circus tube.
• May 2012. “Johan Andersson’s Stolen Faces”. Anoush Chakelian. The Telegraph. London, United Kingdom.
• May 2012. “Johan Andersson: Stolen Faces”. Johan Wirfält. Dazed & Confused.
• May 2012. “Art Wednesday, Johan Andersson: Stolen Faces”. Tim Howard.
• April 2012. “Breaking The Mould”. Beautiful Crime.
• May 2012. “Watch this grad’s space”. Adam Leyland. Arts London News. London, United Kingdom.
• May 2012. “Wonderboy”. Residence Magazine. Sweden.
• May 2012. TED Talks, The Power of Connection, Painting (16 min 30 sec onwards)
• 18 August 2011. Robert Elms Show interview. BBC London.
• 23 July 2011. “Excess Baggage Interview”. Sandi Toksvig. BBC Radio.
• 27 August 2011. David Lister article on Amy Winehouse painting. The Independent.
• 23-24 August 2011. The Times, Telegraph, Independent, Evening Standard, Amy Winehouse painting.
• 23 August 2011. Washington Post, Yahoo News, Msn News, Features Amy Winehouse painting.
• July 2011. “The Art of Survival, Sunrise”. Eamon Holmes. Sky News.
• July 2011. “The Art of Survival”. Daily Express.
• July 2011. “The Art of Survival”. Daily Mail.
• August 2011. Interview on Amy Winehouse painting. Ft1 France T.V.
• August 2011. “Göteborg Posten Amy Winehouse painting”. Svenska Dagbladet. Expressen. Sweden.
• 20 July 2011. “Konsten at överleva en dokusåpa”. GT Expressen. Sweden.
• 20 July 2011. “Johan deltar i Brittisk dokusåpa”. Ttela. Sweden.
• June 2011. “Stolen Faces”. Yo! Venice. Los Angeles, USA.
• March 2011. “Gaddafi Painting revealed opposite Parliament”. Demotix.
• November 2010. “Breakthrough Breast Cancer V&A auction”. The Sun.
• Sweden 2009. DN (Dagens Nyheter) Culture. Stockholm, Sweden.
• 2009. South Kensington & Baker St Underground poster advertisement. Art Below Ltd.
• 2009. Affordable show bargain art. The Sunday Times. Frieze.
• 2009. Affordable show bargain art. The Sunday Times.
• 2009. Affordable show bargain art. Zoo.
• 2008. “Kounter Kulture: Frieze Art Fair Newsletter feature”. Artworld Magazine.
• 2008. “The 20 Best Up and Coming Artists”. The Independent.
• 2008. Radio Interview. Resonance FM.
• 2008. “Aspiring Artist’s Brush With Faith”. Bedfordshire on Sunday.
• 2008. “Hot Prospects”. Artworld Magazine.
• 2008. Emerging Artist, Artinfluence. Peter Fuller Memorial Foundation.
• 2008. “I Captured A Moment I Shouldn’t Have Been Allowed To Capture”. Jotta.com.
• 2007-2008. Radio Interview – BBC 3 Counties 2007 Featured articles in London Lite, London Paper, Metro. London, United Kingdom.
• 2007. “There’s No Substitute For Experience”. London Evening Standard. London, United Kingdom.
• 2007. “The BP Portrait Awards”. London Evening Standard. London, United Kingdom.
• 2007. “Ung svensk konstnär gör succé i London”. Swedish Business: Realtid Monthly. Sweden.
• 2007. “Artists’ Close Brush With Reality”. The Times. London, United Kingdom.
• 2007. “BP Portrait Shortlist Announced”. The Guardian. London, United Kingdom.