Artist, Designer, Photographer… Meticulous Fantasist. Erik Johansson is a Swedish-born artist who specialises in capturing ideas and not moments.
Erik (who is now based in Berlin) creates surreal images by combining traditional photography with a myriad of different materials to create fantastically surreal images with that certain verisimilitude that is impossible to shake off. His style is not only painstaking for the artist but also, in many ways, the audience trying to compute the images in front of them. Completely self-taught, Erik has an organic approach to his work and takes a real hands on approach. If an image needs to look as though it was taken underwater, he is not afraid to get his feet wet taking it!
The process usually starts with a sketched idea that is drawn out in its simplest form. Not all ideas pass this stage through to the ‘realisation’ process, if deemed good enough; Erik will try to make it happen. There is then a long planning period which can take anything from a few days to years, it depends on the success of rekkies to locations and lots of problem solving. From this some photography usually takes place in order to gather images of the real world before retreating to his studio for the hard work to take place. With up to and over 200 layers in some works, Erik’s unique approach takes a great deal of care and attention building his illusion piece by piece until the layers become so entwined that they cannot be picked apart.
Inspired by Salvador Dali and MC Escher, Erik sees photography is merely a way to collect material and realise the ideas in his mind with a systematic, problem solving approach. Every new project is a new challenge and the aim is to portray it with as much realism as humanly possible. There is no use CGI or stock photos in Erik’s work, just complex combinations of his own photographs and hours upon hours of thorough editing and layering to construct various moods and elements of mystery. To all of those inspired by his work and wishing to create similar art, his only advice is to give it your all and just try – You might just surprise yourself.
For more of Erik’s work, please visit his website here.