Johanna Morgan Richardson is an incredibly talented Visual Artist based here in Perth. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Curtin University Johanna began working as a freelance artist exhibiting locally and undertaking commissions. Johanna’s work has received local and international accolades including, (Young Artists Award) City of South Perth Emerging Artist Awards, inclusion in various group exhibitions such as Perspectives at the Art Gallery of Western Australia in 2009 and Emerging Artists Awards for 3 years running. Johanna’s artwork has toured regional Western Australia and was also exhibited in Tokyo’s Ueno Royal Museum. We got the chance to chat to Johanna about her work and upcoming exhibition ‘Faces‘ at the A+A Art Display.
What was the defining moment that made you decide to become an artist?
I never really had one particular defining moment to be honest. Since I was very young I’ve always loved drawing, painting doing anything creative really. My dad is a chemical engineer and my mother is a geologist but both have a super creative side too, my dad with painting and my mum with textiles. So creativity and the arts has always been a love in our household. As a child I would spend school holidays down in Denmark with my mum, dad and big sister and with no TV in the house we would spend two weeks straight reading, drawing and painting for hours if we weren’t at the beach. It’s always been something I’ve done naturally and enjoyed. At the end of school I realised that I could do anything I wanted as long as I worked hard at it, and did what made me happy. I came to the conclusion that if I could do anything when I woke up in the morning it would be creating something in the studio. So I went for it and one thing lead to another.
Your style in 3 words
Reflective, Moody, Dramatic.
Tell us a little about your creative process
I don’t have a creative process. As cliche as its sounds I just do what comes to me at the time. I’m a bit selfish with my art and just do whatever, when the mood takes. I’ve gone through lots of phases with my art and I’m sure there are many to come. With my portraiture I see an interesting face, grab a pen and start drawing. They all turn out differently. Sometimes I’ll add some paint, sometimes they are very controlled and other times I just go for it with black on my brush and figure I can always try again. My favourite pieces tend to be the ones I don’t think about.
What inspires you the most?
Seeing others with passion and drive, regardless of what they do – the love of working hard at something you enjoy. Everyone won’t have the same taste, some people will love your work others may hate it, but if I can produce something that connects with anyone I must be doing something right. If a piece of my art makes even just one person smile when they look at it everyday that’s the most inspiring thing and what I really do it for. Knowing that I get to wake up and do what I really love with my life. I honestly believe that if you love what you do, no matter how stressful it gets, no matter how many times you fail, or fall in a heap it’s so much easier to get back up and keep pushing through. When success, money, fame and whatever may come of it isn’t a focus then everyday is inspiring.
What is your favourite medium to work with?
Thick black Acrylic paint. For some reason although a lot my work is more controlled and my drawing is more restrained there is something about going hell for leather on a canvass with a dripping brush. It just makes you feel good. And makes a great mess.
What does your work environment look like?
Organised Chaos. Dead fine artline pens everywhere. Mostly black and white. (Who would have thought!?). Canvasses half finished up against the walls and sketch rejects on the floor.
Who would you love to collaborate with (alive or dead)?
I could never pick just one person … there are too many artists that I look up to and love the work of. It would take me years to narrow it down to just one especially considering how indecisive I can be.
How do you pick the subjects of your portraits?
It’s purely done on how I feel at the time. Most of my subjects are a face that I see and that interests me. I rarely know why. I honestly just choose what I like and what I find intriguing. It could be as simple as a look or the way a piece of hair falls on a face that draws me in.
Favourite spot in Perth?
Probably the bus, haha. I should really say my studio because its my quite place, where I ‘do my thing’ and my space alone … but when I jump on the bus to my ‘day job’ I can switch off which I rarely do. I do a lot of thinking on public transport and catch up on the books I never make time to read otherwise. I love to people watch and it’s a great view of our city on my route home… I love seeing the small details in Perth change day by day.
Can you tell us a little about your upcoming group exhibition ‘Faces’ at A+A Gallery?
The exhibitions ‘Faces’ is on at the A+A Art Display in Subiaco opening at 7pm on June 3rd . I will be featured along artist Noemi Safir Dolev from Israel and artist Kerri Blades from regional WA. The exhibition featuring new artworks will run for three weeks. All artwork will be for sale and sneak peeks of some of my pieces are featured on my instagram.
Images by Johanna Morgan Richardson