With a fresh approach, artist Johanna Bear brings to fruition a new kind of art with a sophisticated sensibility. We talk with her about her chosen medium of collage, the creative process, and her ultimate inspiration.
Describe your personal and professional background as an artist: Since I was young I have been very creative and loved to draw and paint. For the past few years I have studied art history as well as international politics and law at university, so I was more involved in the theoretical side of the arts. During this time I have been privately collaging for my own personal enjoyment, but recently one of my favourite fashion designers, Georgia Alice, contacted me to collaborate with her on her campaign imagery. It was really Georgia who gave me the confidence to put myself out there and push my artistic practice.
What inspired your chosen medium of collage art? I realized the other day that when I was in primary school I would cut and paste images together in very basic collages on my schoolbooks, so I guess I’ve been doing it for a long time! It was a few years ago that I took a greater interest in collage and at a far more sophisticated level. I was traveling a lot at the time and found it not very practical to carry around what I needed to pursue my previous favorite mediums (drawing and painting), but realized I could easily get a hold of scissors, glue, and magazines wherever I was.
Describe your process: My collages are done by hand. Although I’ve occasionally tried to work digitally, I find this doesn’t satisfy me creatively. For some works there is a particular style or technique I want to experiment with, but more often I will look at the image’s form, shape and composition, and try to work with what already interests me in the image. Although I love to do something unexpected and quirky, I also want to respect the image’s original creator.
From where do you draw inspiration? There are the usual suspects – great art, good music. But also things like the shape of a scrap of paper sitting on my desk from another collage. My boyfriend too is a real inspiration. He is so supportive of me and I really value his advice and criticality, especially given he studied fine arts and works as a photographer.
What is the most exciting project you’ve worked on to date? My collaboration with Georgia Alice. She was always someone I dreamed of working with, so I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to collaborate with her.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received? Stay true to yourself.
How do you unwind after a stressful day? Cooking dinner and chatting to my boyfriend, red wine, dark chocolate, and a good movie (or trashy TV show).