Danielle Johansen has been off in Berlin the past few months developing her art, and Jermango asked her a few questions in the lead up to Yeah Nah Yeah #5, where we’ll have some of her pieces up for show.
Jermango: First off its great having you back in Sydney, it’s been what, over a year now since you left for Berlin? What sparked the move?
Danielle: Hey hello! it is actually so great to be back home! –
Berlin was basically an idea between my friend Nick Gauci and I who were about to start our Hons/MFA, and I suppose we just weren’t ready. I wanted to pursue my practice in new ways and explore my work to its fullest potential before continuing with my studies.
So we applied and were accepted to the ‘Institute für Alles Möglich’ residency in Berlin and it basically all started from there!
J: What differences have you found within the art community in Sydney and Berlin? Is there anything we could learn from the strong art scene over there?
D: To be honest I was a little apprehensive with Berlin’s reputation for such incredible talent! But after a few gallery hops here and there I found a lot of similarities with the Sydney art scene. You’ll find a lot of spaces and events run with the idea of promoting emerging artists – sussing out local talent in all areas of the art world.
J: So for those who don’t know, you and Nick Gauci actually did live art at our first YNY event in 2014. I remember lots of un-realistic beings on a soft purple background which set a beautifully creepy scene; how would you say your art has developed since then?
D: Definitely! It’s currently in limbo waiting to be hung very soon! A lot has changed since then – I suppose I was working predominantly with drawing back then.. and i still do with sketches. but lately i’ve moved into painting acrylic studies, on canvas and perspex – playing around with colour and surface texture.
J: Ive noticed a strong focus on female nudes with lovely soft pastel colours. What is your mindset like when approaching such works?
D: This particular series you’re talking about was influenced by collected images of myself, friends and lovers, to explore the female experience of sexuality and identity.
J: Do you have a personal connection with these subjects? How do the subjects affect your work process?
D: Yeah definitely! I’ve always been drawn to making figurative works, even when it doesn’t involve people it seems to always be discussing our existence within a space. So having a close connection with the subject always makes for better work. For example the studies of my acquaintances will differ from that of a self portrait or of a close friend, naturally.
J: Without giving too much away, what can we expect from you for YNY #5?
D: Think layers and linear scapes… ink splashes.
J: Finally, what are you plans while you’re in Sydney? Can we expect any shows?! (please say yes)
D: YNY will be my Sydney show for now, but I’m super excited to get back into work when I’m home. Hoping to work messier and larger!