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Woolworth Walk

Leif Erik Johansen

My work is a celebration of the imagination, often with a bit of irony and a splash of humor. My creative process varies, sometimes I begin a painting with no preliminary sketch or preconceived idea in mind at all and simply let my imagination lead my brush in spontaneous directions, giving in to intuition, then allow my sensibility to choose the end result. Other times a quick sketch might inspire a new painting, and I attempt to recreate each line as exact to the original sketch as possible. Regardless of my process, creating something from nothing is not an easy, but that's what attracts me to the visual arts, I enjoy being challenged, but more than anything I enjoy seeing the evolution of my work as I evolve as an artist and a person.

I began drawing at a young age. While in school, the only class I really paid any attention in was art and my grades reflected my interest and obsession. I was constantly drawing and I simply didn't have much interest in any other subjects. There were a lot of people pushing me towards art school, and although I wasn't interested in a formal art education I did entertained the idea for a couple of years before exploring my own methods of self-education.

As an adult I still have that child-like curiosity. One of my passions is travel; I enjoy traveling to unique and exotic places not just to try and satisfy my curiosity, but rather broaden my understanding of people and the world around me. I'm attracted to the nuances of life, I tend to notice the smallest details in a person's face; whether their jaw is slightly crooked or they just got their hair cut. This fascination with life's "minutia" is often reflected in my work, albeit slightly exaggerated and distorted, but it's my incessant curiosity which drives me to experiment with new techniques and mediums in an attempt to broaden my skills as an artist. One of my greatest influences is Picasso, mainly because he had immense range, yes he had his own unique style, but He didn't "pigeonhole" himself into one particular style and that is what I want to achieve as an artist.

I enjoy expressing myself through visual arts because it offers me an opportunity to communicate those things which are not easily put into words. My art can be purely aesthetic at times or can have deep personal meaning, it really depends on what inspires me at that particular moment. I might be inspired by lyrics to a song, by the colors I see in a Miro or Picasso painting, or a random thought which comes to me late at night. My paintings, if executed properly, should speak for themselves without the need for explanation. However, I relish in knowing that each person will interpret the same image a little differently and I'm happy with that.

Gallery 828-254-9234 | Soda Fountain 828-254-9210

25 Haywood Street, Asheville, NC 28801
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