• 1

    Over Time, Money Problems, Oil on linen, 37.4 × 59.06 inches, 95 × 150 cm

  • 3

    Over Time, Why the Earth is Green, Oil on linen, 37.8 × 59.06 inches, 96 × 150 cm

  • 2

    Over Time, Flight 77, Oil on linen, 59.06 × 46.06 inches, 149.9 × 117 cm

  • 4

    Installation view of Trust Fun! exhibition (with Shane Sakkeus and Annie Wright)

  • 5

    Installation view of Trust Fun! exhibition (with Shane Sakkeus and Annie Wright)

Graphic Design

Jonathan Zawada

Posted by Alex Moshakis,

Jonathan Zawada makes all sorts of work in all sorts of mediums. He seems happy to paint, to illustrate, to design, which means his portfolio is both unique and totally intriguing. We caught up with Jonathan to talk work, location, and his experience with Todd Selby…

Can you introduce yourself? What do you do exactly?

My daily occupation has been changing shape over the past couple of years, and I’ve been spending more and more time working on art projects and exhibitions. For the past decade I’ve worked freelance for clients, mostly in the music and fashion industries, doing illustration, graphic design, textiles, branding, art direction and web design. And I still do a lot of that – I have to pay the bills somehow – but gradually the balance has been tipping in favour of independent art projects.

Because you work in so many different mediums your work seems un-categorisable. How important is it that you work in different ways?

When I started out as a designer it was very much in the graphic tradition, and my illustration and art interests sat totally outside of that – they were things I did after hours. In my design work I’ve always tried to avoid replicating a specific style or aesthetic – it seems to me that having a recognisable style acts more as an advertisement for yourself, as opposed to for your clients. Each medium should be appropriate for its message. Most of the time I start with a concept rather than a visual and end up finding the medium that perfectly supports and articulates the idea I’m wanting to explore.

Can you tell us a little about Over Time. How did that come about?

The idea for the Over Time landscape paintings came out of research I was doing for a previous exhibition, for which I was looking into fractals and self-similarity. I wanted to explore the idea of a structure being representative of its information content. At first this became mountain ranges which were the same as their histograms, but it quickly turned into mountain ranges that were derived from other graph data. As an artistic tradition, the idea of the landscape painting also appealed to the broader artistic concepts I was interested in – how to create artifacts from digital experiences – and in this idea I saw a way to construct a familiar, humanistic representation of the over-saturation of information that constitutes most of our virtual experiences. This kind of vast, dwarfing, alienating amount of information that is abstracted several steps from physical reality drives a lot of how people shape their world, and computer-generated, graph-derived landscapes seemed like a great visual representation of that.

Does Sydney affect your work in anyway way? Does that specific location influence your work?

It’s probably not the best time to ask as I’m just about to move to Los Angeles! I’m originally from Perth, a city that is to Australia what Australia is to the rest of the world – far removed, which in fact is the primary influence on the creative work being produced here. It instills a feeling of isolation. At first this is both motivating and liberating – there’s not much history or heritage here, which allows you to create your own path, and gives you the freedom to do whatever you want. But it also means opportunities to make a living are few and far between. One incredible aspect of Sydney is comfort – the environment is beautiful and the lifestyle borders on perfection, which really helps put things in perspective if you work within an industry that can cause you to focus a little too much on possessions and status.

We saw you and your wife Annie on The Selby. How was that?

It was great – he was such a lovely guy and his enthusiasm and energy is pretty infectious. Annie was especially excited as she follows the blogs more than I do (I confess that at first I didn’t really know who or what it was when I got the call about it). I was surprised to find how widespread his readership is – after our shots were posted we had all sorts of random strangers coming up to us on the street, confessing that they’d seen our house, and asking us where we got our couch from or saying they liked this or that. Mostly they then followed that up by saying they felt like a bit of a creep or a voyeur, which is funny!

What’s next for you? More of everything?

More of everything! I’m moving to LA in a few weeks and I’ll be working there for a few months on an exhibition later in the year which looks like it will be in London. My hope is that I can spend more time working on art and see where I end up. For the first time in a while I have no real plans after that which is an exciting feeling.

Portrait8

Posted by Alex Moshakis

Alex originally joined It’s Nice That as a designer but moved into editorial and oversaw the It’s Nice That magazine from Issue Six (July 2011) to Issue Eight (March 2012) before moving on that summer.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. Main

    Apologies if this is a slightly dismayed post, but upon thinking I had stumbled across a gem via Nieves’ announcement of some new zines I was excited to be the first to write about Keegan McHargue on It’s Nice That. Alas I was not, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t shout about his brilliance once more.

  2. List

    When I was a teenager I’d have given my right arm for patches emblazoned with the lyrics of my favourite songs. It was the height of cool to be covered in brightly-coloured band paraphernalia (or at least I thought so). German artist Selma Alaçam clearly thought so too as her latest project Heartstrings combines some of her favourite song lyrics from the likes of Fiona Apple and Depeche Mode. The seven woven rugs – based on the traditional kelim, native to Turkey – have been hand-embroidered with bold typographic verses, whose personal importance is known only to the artist. To the rest of us these embroideries are like beautifully ambiguous album covers, enticing you in with their bright, bold colours.

  3. List

    It’s plain to see that Lee Marshall’s artwork is a product of the digital age; his smooth gradients, vectorised objects and figures apparently created in an early version of Corel Draw all evoke the atmosphere of an abstract digital landscape. But Lee’s creations all exist in the real world as paintings, drawings and sculptures, bringing a unique physicality to environments we’d expect to experience on a flat screen. The Norwich School of Art graduate has been perfecting this signature style since his student days, but with an ever-increasing list of group and solo shows to his name we’re expecting more great things from Lee over the coming months and years.

  4. List

    Let’s all give a big round of applause to the people behind Instagram who, in creating a convenient photo-based social media outlet, also paved the way for Instagram artists. If Instagram is the Impressionist salon of our time, then right at the forefront of this digital gallery is Kalen Hollomon, whose own brand of photo-collage is a tongue-in-cheek giggle at both the fashion industry and at commuters in general, and is hugely popular with it.

  5. List

    It’s fair to say that Interview magazine, founded by Andy Warhol in 1969, had some serious sway over popular culture throughout the 1970s and 80s. With its pop art-driven aesthetic and its constant pursuit of features with the superstars of the day it has grown to occupy seminal status. And this is due in no small part to Richard Bernstein, the artist behind the publication’s iconic cover imagery.

  6. List

    Imagine going to a party with a bunch of your favourite creatives and each picking up a paintbrush, a pot of ink, and creating the drawing equivalent of a huge, diverse orgy on a very long piece of paper. I’m sure for some people that kind of malarkey is the norm, but for most of us, we need the help of an organising body in making experimental ideas and collaborative practice come to life. Enter Sumi Ink Club, the participatory drawing project we first wrote about three years ago which was founded in 2005 by LA-based artists Sarah Rara (I know, right) and Luke Fishbeck. For 13 years now they’ve been the source behind a string of public meeting planned by anybody, anytime, which seek to mirror open social interactions with the act of putting paintbrush to paper.

  7. List

    It’s 100 years since Britain entered the First World War and to mark the centenary, the Tower of London is being surrounded by nearly 900,00 ceramic poppies. Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red is the brainchild of artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper and will grow between now and November when there will be 888,246 flowers in the dry moat, one for every British or British Colony soldier killed during the fighting.

  8. Main7

    There was a time when we at It’s Nice That were inundated with internet art – we were having so much submitted to us on a daily basis that it was pouring out of our ears in waxy gifs. It’s pleasing to be faced with it again, a year or two after the craze has kind of died out, when it’s created by someone who actually has a passion and an eye for this stuff and isn’t just jumping on a weird bandwagon.

  9. List

    It feels like Max and Adele at Atelier bingo lead a pretty charmed life. Camped out in the middle of the countryside with their converted studio/barn, it would be easy to resent the life they lead – in fact sometimes it’s very easy indeed. But the work they’re producing – stunning screen prints and collages of abstract forms – keeps me returning to their website time after time, and I just can’t find it in my heart to resent their rural idyll. Though if they called me up tomorrow to invite me to come and live with them, I’d definitely have a hard time saying no.

  10. List

    Here at It’s Nice That we spend an awful lot of time talking about, thinking about and writing about creatives but ultimately we don’t get too many chances to really see what goes on in their day-to-day working lives…until now. Our new collaboration with super-cool eyewear brand Ace & Tate is taking us inside the studios, and inside the minds, of a host of some of our favourite creatives.

  11. List

    Some artists, immensely talented and original though they may be, simply don’t make work that fits in the grandest art galleries of the world. Fortunately for them there are super-cool concept stores created specifically to house such work, and queen of all of these is Colette. Hiro Sugiyama’s surreal, hilarious and altogether unsettling artwork is a natural fit for Paris store Colette’s carefully curated collection of the avant-grade and the offbeat.

  12. List

    Few forces shape the modern world more than the internet and yet it’s an invisible presence that we just understand is there. But PhD student Luis Hernan has changed that by designing a system which scans for wireless networks and creates images where different signal strengths are represented by different coloured LED lights. The results, in essence, allow us to see the WiFi around us.

  13. Main9

    Anyone in New York had better gallop over to Ed. Varie gallery to catch a new show by the ever-wonderful artist Ana Kraš. We’ve posted about Ana a few times, mainly about her beautiful lamps and designs to make your home/life better, and her fun collaborative photography projects. Her show at Ed. Varie entitled Mothers with Spoons and Relationships is an exploration into her more recent love of drawing, using predominantly back-to-basics art supplies such as wax, crayon and oil pastel.