Getting Jiggy with Johanson

by Abi Crompton

This month, Third Drawer Down welcome USA artist, Chris Johanson to the family - with a collection of super fun and collectable art oddities including the best plush toys we have ever laid eyes on. 

In case you feel like some artist education, and why wouldn't you, here's some juice on Chris - plus a little interview we like to call 'Three with Third Drawer Down'. 


So what is it about Chris and his work we were drawn to? Well, at first glimpse, his work appears colourful, playful and optimistic but as we dissect his paintings, installations and prints further, conversations of political and economic conflict reveal themselves, his creations exist as a social commentary, consisting of Johanson’s formulated visual language. Described as a ‘poet of the people’ Chris Johanson provides an optic into the Everyman’s reality creating a relatable, simple and often humorous perspective of his observations, he channels messages of hope and optimism, encouraging positive energy when sincerely addressing the world’s issues.

Plus, his work is relatable! What is it that makes it so damn relatable?! Aside from the fact it’s so visually appealing… It’s most likely due to the fact his works are about each and every one of us, touching on our current issues, events and states of being. When asked his preferred medium to work with, Johanson responded: “I love to work in the medium of life.” So I guess that explains it! Nothing is more engaging than straight life slapped on paper! His work exists for all, straying from exclusivity and elitism to be viewed, questioned and appreciated by everyone.

We are so happy to have finally collaborated with this incredible artist and warm soul. Here's our three with Chris. 

Three with Third Drawer Down

1. Critique one of your products in 3 words, drawings, sounds or gestures. 
 Interesting Touchable Object

2. Think of 3 artists throughout art history and pick (and elucidate, juicy details encouraged): One for a wild night out, One to collaborate with to make a new artwork, and One to paint your portrait - or pose nude for. 
One for a wild night out: This one is hard because everyone is equal in my perspective so the selected artist is Anyone or Everyone because I know I'd find some nice aspect of whoever it was and it would probably be the same back, because of the pre-stated parameters of the meeting of the two artists. I would say the odds are good for a positive outcome!
One to collaborate with: My favorite person to collaborate with is Johanna Jackson(my life partner). But if it was someone else in art history I would say Nancy Spero. I love her compassion and the way she spotlights the human figure. She puts a lot of love into the suffering subject matter. 
One to paint your portrait, or pose nude for: I would have loved to hang with HC Westerman. He was such a down to earth and compelling artist. The consideration of his practice is something I deeply respect. 

3. Three life lessons that made you into a badass artist.
 I think everything is absurd. There is some rhyme or reason swimming around there in stardust spirit infinity world but I don’t know what it is. I can’t figure out the equation. So I just try and balance toxicity and healthy living. Right now I’m alive and part of how I justify it is by making peace art.
We also asked Chris to submit a portrait or selfie of his choosing to sit alongside this interview. Here it is.