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Art & Home: Erik Johansson

Erik Johansson: Photographer and Digital Manipulator

Photograph manipulation has been around since the creation of photography itself. However, the editors of the past didn’t have Photoshop to work with. All editing was done in the darkroom by hand. It’s interesting to think that photography was created to capture the world as we see it, and yet we have been making better techniques to manipulate these real images into something from a dream.

Erik Johansson has mastered the art of editing photographs to create breath-taking, surreal images. The photographs are so seamlessly put together that it’s hard to tell where the reality ends and the dream begins. Johansson is a Swedish artist working in Berlin, Germany. He does all the photography and creating of his images, no stock photos are used in his work. From an early age, he began drawing and eventually moved to photography after getting his first digital camera at the age of 15. Photography was not enough to satisfy his creativity though. He felt it almost too easy, since the creative process was complete as soon as the shutter button was pressed. So, he took his photos to the computer and began editing them, combining his love for drawing with his interest in photography.

Drifting Away, Erik Johansson, 2013
Drifting Away, Erik Johansson, 2013

Erik Johansson did not choose photography as his career initially. He studied computer engineering in college, but continued with his photography and photo manipulation as a hobby. After posting some of his work online, he began to get noticed by local advertisement agencies who asked him for help with retouching photographs. Eventually he was freelancing, along with doing his personal work and studies. Johansson switched majors and graduated with a masters in Interaction Design and began pursuing a career path in photography.

It is apparent that he is greatly influenced by M.C. Escher, with his twisted perspective pictures and his love of reflective surfaces. He begins his work with a sketch, an idea, for a photograph. Then he begins planning on how to make his fabricated picture a reality. Johansson’s photographs take a lot of planning and problem solving to create, since all of his photographs are his own original images that he combines into one flawless image. His next step is taking the photographs, paying special attention to light and perspective so the end result will mesh. And the last step is putting the photograph together. From beginning to end, it can take as little as a few days to a year or more to create one image. He sees his images as puzzles. Little pieces of pictures that he has created that he can combine into one final piece of art.

Reverberate, Erik Johansson, 2011
Reverberate, Erik Johansson, 2011

Johansson’s work has gotten noticed by companies such as Google, National Geographic, and even Adobe to create promotional artwork for them. In 2013, Adobe asked him to do a live presentation to promote their new software release for Photoshop. The idea was to make live retouching of people waiting unaware at a bus stop. Below is the mind-blowing video where you can watch Johansson in his element. To see more of Erik Johansson’s work, or to get more insight into his work process, visit his website at http://www.erikjohanssonphoto.com/.

Inspired by Erik Johansson

Erik Johansson sells his artwork as prints that you can purchase on his website. So being able to acquire an authentic Johansson in your home is very simple. For $60-$120 you get a gallery quality art print on archival paper with archival inks, so your print will last for decades. Having one of his prints in your home would give your family and guests an interesting talking point at parties and gatherings! The surreal scenes he creates pull you in and take you to a place that could only come from Johansson’s mind.

Endless Reflections, Erik Johansson, 2015
Endless Reflections, Erik Johansson, 2015

I thought a Nordic themed interior design paired well with Johansson’s work as a nod towards his Swedish origins. The Nordic style is reminiscent of the Northern European countries from where it gets its name, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. It is a very unique style that brings elements from rustic decor and modern decor and melts them together. Nordic style is characterized by white floors, such as Kronoswiss Rigoletto White D18019BD featured in the design below, weathered wood furniture, and fur rugs. Keep the wall paint colors to whites or muted, pastel colors. The idea is to keep the space clean and bright. You can accessorize the space with antlers, a steamer truck coffee table, and butterfly chairs with fur throw blankets. To bring a pop of color in, try making your own succulent terrariums! Use moss for the ground covering, instead of sand or stones to give a lush feel to your miniature garden. Most importantly, have fun with the design! It’s such a beautiful way to modernize and bring yourself in touch with nature.

Erik Johansson Interior Decor

What did you think of Erik Johansson’s work? How about Nordic decor? Leave a comment below letting me know how you feel about this week’s Art & Home post!


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