+ Pop Psychology Stuff:

+ Favourite online pyschological test:

The Enneagram: I am an enneagram type 4 with a 5 wing. If you don’t know what this is, check out this website and take a test yourself.  One of the most accurate and fascinating psychological tests, in my opinion.
+ Favourite television shows:  

Hogan’s Heroes: Hilarious and it has a great aesthetic. The Germans did have some amazing uniforms! When I was a kid, I used to love drawing pictures of German soldiers. One time I remember drawing a picture of Hitler (!) I’m sure my parents were quite horrified and somehow I never could find where that drawing had disappeared to!  

Northern Exposure: Smart and philosophical, I loved its out-in-the-middle of nowhere atmosphere. 

Heroes: One of the best news shows in a while, and it has an artist that can paint the future. What’s not to like?
+ Favourite Cartoon: Hands down, Calvin and Hobbes. Absolutely hilarious and brilliant. Nothing else even comes close.
+ Favourite Artists: I know it’s probably cliche’, but I love the Group of Seven. The life of Tom Thompson is particularly fascinating and inspiring to me. The art is so Canadian and the landscapes just entice you into their view of the world and of this great country. 

Recently, I was able to view some of the block prints by Franklin Carmichael, and they are truly amazing!

I really like what Canadians like Glenn Payan, Jimmy Perron and Sabina Hill are doing, too.
“...of course, we all hope our art speaks for itself. I just worry what mine says when I’m not around...”

Shawn Johnsen
+ What's my art about?

Well, at the end of the day, I think it’s about creating this elusive place that exists inside my head and heart . It’s snapshots from a story. A piece of the narrative that might suggest the whole.  I want there to be more than a beautiful or compelling landscape or portrait, I want the viewer to ask “why?”  “Why is this happening?”  “Where is this person going?”  “ What led to this?” or “Where will this lead?”  In many ways, I think my art harkens back to a simpler time, a time that was fueled in my imagination as a child, a world where there was room to explore, where life was a adventure, with secret, hidden places and mystery around ever corner. The Canadian landscape, of course, provides a huge backdrop for these scenes, as does the role of “the individual,” who only has themselves to rely on, to face the challenges, to ask the questions, to live out the consequences of their action. 

 I choose to work in black and white as it lends a certain boldness and starkness to the images that captures both the attention and imagination. I love the challenge of creating contrast, texture and a great composition with this limited spectrum.  Like a great record, I want there to be layers of nuance, where the image doesn’t grow old, but you can continue to find new ideas, emotions and sensations the more you look at it, where you feel like you’ve never quite seen it all, no matter how many times you’ve looked at it.
+ A Few Facts:

+Born in Calgary, I now reside and create my work in Cochrane, Ab Canada.  One day however, I would like to have a nice studio/home in the mountains, surrounded by trees.... with a wood-burning stove! Fortunately, I like chopping wood as much as I like hearing the wind in the trees... which is a lot.
+In addition to being a visual artist, I am also an accomplished guitar player and songwriter, and run a small recording studio, Vertigo Studios. Being creative has always been my passion, whatever the medium.
+One of my earliest inspirations came from my Grandmother, Eve Borrows, who was a fantastic landscape painter and whose home with my Grandfather in the Crowsnest Pass, installed a deep love of nature and the mountains in me.  Spending summers and Christmas in the mountains was always the best. The more snow the better, too!  Well, at least at Christmas... in the summer, not so much.  Needless to say, I don’t have much good to say about Global warming.
+Growing up, I always loved the woodcut illustrations in the books I read. Although I didn’t realize how they were made, they always had a curious quality to them, which seemed to elude my drawing attempts. Despite initially spending a lot of time studying watercolour painting, when I started working on block printmaking, I knew I had found a medium of expression that really resonated with me.
+Spirituality and creativity go hand in hand for me. Life really is a wonderful mystery and the ideas of a Creator who loves us and of eternal life are particularly moving to me. In 1994, I finished my degree in Religious Studies and Education. Although I had the desire to pursue a Masters, I decided to follow my heart and studied guitar in Hollywood at the prestigious Musician’s Institute, earning a certificate in guitar studies. I think that elements of both music and spirituality find a home in my work. I’m amazed sometimes by the parallels that cross the borders of music and printmaking- All of the ideas I used to instill in my guitar students, like developing dynamics, contrast and the use of repetition are ideas that I use daily in my visual work. Not to mention, I do a lot of listening to music and praying as I create my pieces!
+My love for creating and visual arts led me to study drawing and printmaking at the Alberta College of Art in 2001/2005. I initially thought I had forsaken my love of music by focusing so much on drawing, but I’ve found them to be mutally accepting of one anothers presence in my life, thank goodness.