I am a self-taught painter and writer specialising in naïve art.
I studied English at university followed by a Master's degree in Renaissance Studies, and then went into book publishing. I began to paint in 2006, inspired a six-month trip to Latin America during which I saw naive and folk art for the first time. On my return home I bought a set of acrylic paints and started to experiment. Since then I have developed my own distinctive style, which typically features vibrantly colourful landscapes brought to life by playful or magical details.
I am a member of the Association of British Naive Artists (ABNA) and have exhibited at various shows across the UK.
I am listed in Who's Who in Art (34th Edition) and was one of 100 artists featured in the Schiffer book Contemporary Painters in 2012.
"it's really uplifting and inspiring to see your work..."
I combine painting with a full-time job as a copywriter for a major children’s publisher, and have recently moved to East Kent after many years in London. Due to changing circumstances I haven't done a great deal of painting in the past five years, but I'm now increasing my output again and looking forward to doing more with my artwork.
Whatever I'm painting, colour is always essential to the composition. People often remark that my art is 'all about colour', and for me, the contrast and energy of the palette contributes as much as the scene itself. Although I don't follow formal technical rules, each work is created with painstaking care and can take many months to complete, with an emphasis on fine detail, and a richness of colour built up during several layers of overpainting.
All of my pictures to date are completely unique and painted from imagination, never from photos.
"I really love your work with so much movement and colour and fun! Can't wait to see what you come out with next!"
Exhibitions and Events
October 2020 East Kent Open House, Canterbury
October 2019 East Kent Open House, Canterbury
June 2012 Association of British Naïve Artists:
(annually) Little Picture Gallery, Mousehole, Cornwall.
May 2012 Association of British Naïve Artists:
Delamore Gallery, Delamore Park, Cornwood, Devon.
July 2011 Association of British Naïve Artists:
Crypt Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall.
November 2010 Association of British Naïve Artists:
Crypt Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall.
December 2009 Christmas Show: Broadwalk Arts, Bristol.
December 2009 St John's Christmas Fete: St John's Church, Hackney.
September 2009 Clara Johanssen: Wonderland.
Solo show: Basement Gallery, Pages of Hackney, London.
July 2009 Out of Africa: Obsidian Art, Stoke Mandeville, Bucks.
June 2009 Association of British Naïve Artists:
Mariners Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall.
October 2008 Association of British Naïve Artists:
Clare White Gallery, Elsecar, Barnsley.
"Great exhibition. Loved your work – so full of life and vitality..."
My painting 'Carnival Day' is featured in a press shot for the Association of British Naive Artists exhibition at the Clare White Gallery in Elsecar.
This photo shows the gallery owner, Steph Pollard, holding up the painting.
Photograph courtesy of Ian Townsley.
© Clara Johanssen, 2019. All rights reserved.
The online gallery of British contemporary and naive artist Clara Johanssen, featuring original paintings, fine art prints and biographical information. @ Clara Johanssen, 2009. All rights reserved.