The Secret Life of Joakim Ojanen's Art
Like most artists, Stockholm-based painter and ceramicist Joakim Ojanen aims to make work that is timeless. But Joakim's approach to timelessness is unconventional: His woozy characters are intended to be both 8 and 30 years old at the same time. "I'm fascinated about the fact that we are aging and all the time changing a little bit," Joakim explains. "And all the time we still have the memories and experiences from all our previous years. I try to use that in my work."
What results are oil paintings and stoneware sculptures that appear both childlike and innocent, mature and melancholy. For example, at a recent exhibition at Richard Heller Gallery in Los Angeles—the artist's first solo show in the United States—a downcast duckbilled character strummed a guitar, and a boy with an aquamarine Pinocchio nose fiddled with a soccer ball. The figures were a combination of both playfulness and profundity. "I definitely think they look the way they do because of my illustration background," Joakim explains in the following interview with The Hundreds. "The expression of the characters is really important to me—that's how you make them feel alive."