Ep278: Making Reality a Fantasy with Photo Artist Erik Johansson
June 28, 2021
The blandness of everyday living can wear a person down, and bleach out the wonder of the world. But for the esteemed photographer and visual artist, Erik Johansson, the spark of surrealism is more alive in the common setting than we think. All we need is a little scenery and a lot of creativity.
Raised in the countryside of Sweden, Erik’s spark for whimsical sceneries was brought by the beauty and simplicity of his life as a child. “Modifying realities has always been natural to me,” he says. Erik points out how he used to spend his time drawing rather than talking, and his work was inspired by the rural landscape he was born in.
“It kind of came natural to me—to try to treat photographs as white papers, that I could fill with my imagination.”
He spoke of his creative process and stressed how creativity isn’t something you can force yourself to have. Rather drawing is an activity that gradually improves the more you do it.
“It’s not a gold mine that you’re digging out of creativity and one day you run out of it,” he says, referring to art as a whole. “I think it’s more about exercising the brain and thinking creatively.”
When asked about the struggles of photography and dealing with the circumstances that we have today, Erik viewed it as a stepping stone for creative growth. “I think those limitations can sometimes be good for creativity as well…” while further stressing that, “the imagination is just so big, and sometimes limitations can be good to direct it in a certain direction.”
Even though he only publishes a few of his personal work in a year, Erik takes pride in his pieces and the arduous artistry that goes into his photographs.
“I think it’s a lot about trying to not just create something that looks realistic or impossible, but also trying to tell a story.”