Johan Thörnqvist

Johan Thörnqvist is an intriguing artist who recently caught our eye. He’s based in Helsingborg (in Sweden, near Malmö).
His charming work incorporates whimsical drawings over photographs – imaginative scenes that really appeal to our playful and dreamy sides. His work has been featured in several exhibitions, advertising campaigns and magazines.

The thing that attracts us is the dreaminess and DIY-nature of his work: for example the photos are taken on his phone, and whole worlds spring up on the side of an innocuous post-it note. We had a quick catch up with Johan to delve a little deeper into what makes his world  go round…

Are there any artists that have directly influenced you and the way you work? 

I read Jan Lööf and Sven Nordqvist when I was a kid and i think the images from those books have influenced me a great deal. Another great artist is Mattias Adolfsson.

Which illustration means the most to you and why? 

I got to do a children’s book last year about a girl and her grandfather walking to the store. On the way, the grandfather explains the world around them and makes up fantastic ways different stuff works. I really enjoyed the process and I love getting e-mails from parents telling me that their kids like the book and that it inspires them to think up their own wacky explanations about how stuff works (see video below)

If you weren’t an illustrator, what would you be doing with your time? 

When I’m not illustration I work as a Art-Director at a production agency called Gertrud which I co-founded in 2010. But if I wasn’t doing that or illustration and art I think I would like to work with games. Or maybe something completely different, outdoorsy, like a surveyor or something.

What do you dream of? 

Sleeping in and spending all day in bed with my biggest love – my girlfriend.

Berlin, Bears and Refugees