Super fun collaboration with Levitate. I caught up with Chad for a little email interview. We talked about the inspiration, artwork and surfing. I made these 2 pieces inspired by New England seasons and surfing.
Tell us a little backstory about yourself, where are you from? How did you get started with creating art? Where do you live now?
My name is Jonas, I live in Australia for the past 20 years. I grew up in Sweden, where most of my family still lives. I started drawing from a really early age like most people, but kept the interest through school, took extra art classes where I could, and after high school I ended up going to a one-year art school program. After that, I really wanted to surf more, and I moved to Australia to do a design degree on the Gold Coast where there's also happens to be good surfing. Now I live in a place called Freshwater on the Northern Beaches outside Sydney. It's a cool little community with a local bar, a few cool restaurants, a nice surf beach and lots of fun people around. What has your journey with your art looked like? Are you self-taught?
Has your process/approach changed at all along the way? I think I'm a mix between self-taught, and art school taught.
As I said earlier, I did one year of full art school which introduced everything like oil painting, acrylics, photography, and design. Then I also did a three-year bachelor's degree in product design in Australia. So, I guess I am not self-taught. I always like learning new stuff and usually just give it a go. Recently I've done a few courses online with talented watercolourists. If there's something I want to figure out how to use or do I usually try it first and then if I get stuck, look up how other people do it.
The landscapes that you create are perfect, daydream-level surfing surrealism - are there any places in particular that constantly inspire you or particularly move you? How much do you base off of the imaginary versus real-life experiences?
Thank you. I get a lot of inspiration from the surroundings where I live and travel. Australia is such a beautiful country and I'm so blessed to live here. Within a couple of hours south and north, I can get to some amazing surf spots, camp, surf empty beaches and immerse myself in nature. I think my upbringing in Sweden also gave me a love for the cold and mountains. I think I combine those two things, in my art, it's not really something I plan to do or actively think about, it just happens.
The presence of your signature animal characters is so incredibly magnetic to everyone from kids to adults - what originally inspired you to include them?
I started drawing animals doing fun stuff that I enjoy around 10 years ago. It started with drawing a bear with a skateboard for my friend’s Swedish surf brand. After that, I guess I was hooked because it's a lot more fun for me imagining animals do fun stuff than humans. In what ways do you feel that being a surfer has changed your approach to life and to your art?
What elements of surfing do you find inspire you the most that you try to capture in your work?
Surfing is my number one passion. And I get a lot of joy and happiness from being in the water. Not just the surfing part. I feel like when you enter the water it's like you're entering another element which enhances all the surroundings. What inspires me the most are small, clean, beautiful days with just a few friends. I'm not much of a big wave surfer or like to surf with a lot of people so usually when the surf is good and everyone's talking about it, I go do other things like mountain biking, hiking, or climbing. I really like to smaller clean offshore days when you can find a little peak or reef to yourself or with a few friends. That's what inspires me the most.