Sunday, November 18, 2012

Marie Jonsson-Harrison

Henri Rouseeau, you Rock

Marie Jonsson-Harrison, a Naive Artist, born in Sweden, but now lives in South Australia, she exhibits around the world, however Japan and America have been her biggest markets.
Marie paints in a colorful, happy style with humor and with a social comment about the human condition.  She has several public sculptures to her name, has won several Art Competitions and been the recipient of 2 SA Great Awards.
This year her Painting “LONDON2012” was commissioned by GICLEE LINK, a UK publishing company, with  outlets in the UK and USA, for the London Olympics to capture the city of London and its icons. These limited edition (95) Giclee prints will be available through some of the outlets as well as at This caps of an amazing first 6 months of 2012 for Marie which started in January when she was asked to participate in The Henri Rousseau exhibition in L'abbaye de Montivilliers, Normandy France on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of his death.
This in turn led her to be written up in a French magazine, Artension Magazine France in a special edition of Naive art today around the world (Artension on L’Art naïf aujourd’hui)
During July and August Marie is representing Australia in the annual Art Naive Exhibition in Katowice, Poland where 32 artists from around the world were chosen to take part.  This is Maries second year representing Australia in this exhibition.
However her most exciting venture was so far was to be chosen as one of 3 artists for the launch of ARTnBED  in New York, where her painting “TRUE COLORS OF HINDLEY STREET” is featured on a QUILT cover.  This followed the Easter release in Israel and will be followed by Japan and UK later on.

The exciting quilt features all the one-time familiar icons of Hindley Street, Adelaide, Australia which is the place where everything happens, Action, Atmosphere and Nightlife –Jules Bar, Downtown Leisure Centre, Flash Coffee Gelateria and Jerusalem Restaurant in a splash of vibrant street life.  Crazy Horse nightclub is depicted alongside Goodwill Stores.  And the instantly recognisable eclectic imagery is jammed with a multi-cultural crowd of people.
Marie is enjoying the thought that; “Thousands of Americans are sleeping in Hindley Street tonight!”
Marie’s Blog on her website seems to have struck a nerve, colorful and happy paintings with funny and quirky tales about where the inspiration comes from.  Enjoy ! 

“The Outsider - Outsider Artist Debate”
Funny isn’t it this thing about being pigeonholed, fitting in under a banner or label.  Well I guess if truth shall be known I have never really fitted in anywhere with anything – always been a bit rebellious and found my own way.
So why should anything be different now with my Art – I have for the longest time been told that the way I paint was Naive and yes that label has fitted me pretty well – however as it has been pointed out to me many times the naive title conjures up a Nice and Pretty painting.  Yes some of my paintings and artwork are just that no doubt, but often there is “more”.   The “more” for the most part, is that there is a often a subtle message or should I say a commentary on the world I see around me, I poke fun at the world, just letting you the viewer know not to take yourselves so seriously.   Also just a gentle poke at myself at the same time not to sweat the small stuff which I have a habit of doing!
Some people also think that as an ex model I don’t fit the innocent naive label either, why my past profession should have any bearing on the way I paint I don’t understand.  Oh I do paint subject matters from my past but it’s not like we learned to paint in modelling school exactly!  The fact that one can remain innocent in the way I view the world and hope the world would be, is perhaps what saved me both as a street kid and later as an international model with the Australian Model of the year title many years ago.  In my world happiness reigns and everyone are “Happy as a pig in shit”! (The title of one of my first paintings).
 I am self taught and have never even taking an art class either unless you count my primary education,  where I was ridiculed by the teachers for not seeing perspective and not being able to draw and paint which lead to me not touching art materials again till my late 20’s.    Instead I left school at 14 when I ran away from home and never went back.  What I learned in those initial 8 months fending for myself made me street smart if nothing else.
So am I an Outsider Artist?  Again some so called experts say yes and some say no.  What seems to irk some people putting me into this category is the success I have enjoyed as an Artist.  As an Outsider artist you are not supposed to produce art to exhibit or for fame or monetary reward. 
What these so called experts forget on this topic is that I painted for several years with a love and compulsion that I didn’t understand myself and I had no idea there was such a thing as Naive art or Outsider Art until it was eventually suggested by my father.  That was not mentioned for a long time as I just feverously painted every second I had spare, long before any thought of exhibitions or fame or fortune was even a glint on the horizon. 
So what about the mental illness aspect – does an Outsider artist have to be mentally disturbed?  Well some ARE undoubtedly however you do find people in all professions dealing with mental illness and you don’t just classify someone who paints landscapes or photographic (realistic) portraits and has a mental illness as an Outsider artist, right? 
So what about the term; Contemporary artist, I have been classified as that as well.  But as usual the camps are divided by that too. Can a contemporary artist paint colourful happy paintings for the main part and get her social commentary taken seriously, mustn’t they be all broody and deep with long explanations of what their art actually means.  Oh my, she hasn’t attended Art School either, fancy that – not a clone of a failed artist that teaches for a living now! Now that is probably a touch mean of me to say and not entirely true as there are many wonderful art teachers out there no doubt.   I just hope that the ones that thought I was terrible in school can see me now!
To me Art shouldn’t be Rocket Science, Art should make you feel!  Feel something either for the subject matter for the artist or tweak some memory deep within.  Passion is good wether it is happy or sad, angry or give you the giggles, when you look at art and it stirs up a “feeling” any feeling then it’s good art in my opinion.  So perhaps the label I am most comfortable with is an Outsider Contemporary Naive Artist – yep perhaps that is the label for me!!!
Here is a quote I think fits well here by Henry Ward Beecher,
“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
Till next time happy painting and sculpting to you all.
Love Marie xxx

Marie Jonsson-Harrison
Naive Art by Marie Jonsson-Harrison