When I was a child I was constantly getting into trouble for staring at people. Yet, faces mesmerized me. Now, as an adult I have turned my interest in faces into an all consuming preoccupation that no longer gets me into trouble.
I begin each painting from the single point that most portraits, even the best ones, simply tell who you are, but for the process to be interesting to me, my portraits must also tell the story of who you have been and who you may become. I believe that everyone has at least one extraordinary story. I want to know that story and I want to tell that story through art, the extraordinary story of you.
Johanna got her first taste of art school on arrival in Los Angeles where she attended Otis College of Art and Design. Working as a graphic designer, she eventually moved to the San Francisco Bay area where she completed her BFA at the San Francisco Art Institute and later got her teaching credential at San Jose State University.
Over the course of her thirty plus years of art making, working predominantly in acrylic paint on canvas, her work has evolved in many directions. Yet, the one constant has been an involvement with the figure. Johanna works in the styles of Surrealism and Classical Realism. Her strength is in her use of meticulous detail and high contrast lighting, evoking a feeling of the Dutch Baroque.
There are three basic components to most of my work, the figure, the organic and Surrealism. My artwork often examines the connections between human and organic forms. When I begin a painting, my initial intent is to create a riddle within each piece, asking viewers to interact with the image as they decipher its meaning. Working in the style of Surrealism enhances this effect. My paintings actually begin as groups of ideas, usually arranged around a story, a set of symbols or an overarching concept. I tell my stories using symbols and my technique references the old masters of classic realism.