An Interview with Johan Eduard Francis

1. What is your favorite medium to work in as an artist?
The short answer would be paint; all kinds from watercolor to oil. Yet, I like to experiment with various media.

2. Who is alive today that inspires your work?
Marina Abramovic. Her whole thought process behind approaching art fascinates me. I think that is why I see art as more of a process than a product. Then of course Alex Grey, his work is a huge inspiration.

3. What’s integral to the work of an Artist?
Awareness of self and others. Exploration; you can’t stay with only what you know. Expression; always be true to who you are in the moment.

4. What role does the Artist have in Society?
To provoke thought. I feel artists are there to make society reflect, be that on themselves, the past, the future etc.

5. What has been a moving experience that relates to your personal artwork?
When I did a piece on LGBTQ rights in Korea and the day after opening I found a single rose with a note thanking me for representing and making someone feel visible.

6. What’s your favorite artwork by another artist, living or dead?
That is a difficult question to answer, there are so many. I do have a book full of Alex Grey’s work that I look at frequently.

7. What is the biggest challenge you face professionally?
The ability to capture the notion of wabi sabi; that perfection in imperfection. I always try to fix my art but want to allow mistakes to stay present. This challenges me each time I get half way with a project.

8. What person, dead or alive, would you invite for dinner?
Again a tough one, I have a list of people I would like to invite over to a banquet, but if I need to choose just one, The Dali Lama.

9. What kind of risk and sacrifice, either creatively, or in your work, has had the biggest effect on your life?
I would say every time I do a piece connected to activism I feel that sense of risk. Would this cause a stir in the wrong way? Would it do more harm than good? Would it be interpreted in a manner that is not meant at all? Yet, most of the time I have had positive experiences, the odd time it was negative only made me realize that the risk, compared to what some people in the world go through, is very small.

10. How do you know when a work is finished?
When it stops speaking to me. I start with an idea that is not clearly mapped out. A general direction and I allow the art to reveal the colors and themes and medium to me. Once I try to add to it from myself I know it is complete.

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