• 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. Samchirnside-int-list

    I don’t know what it is about seeing colours up close that’s so mesmerising, but Sam Chirnside is all over it. The Melbourne and New York-based artist works predominantly with oil paints to create strangely beautiful distortions, which work best when overlaid with a band logo to create album artwork, or cut out in geometric shapes. His works resemble planetary compositions straight out of a senior school physics textbook or a happy spillage in an art classroom, and we can’t get enough of them.

  2. Jacksmith-npg-int-list

    For the first time ever a show at the National Portrait Gallery in London contains no human faces. Jack Smith: Abstract Portraits which opened late last week is the first exhibition in the gallery’s 159-year history that includes no figurative portraits as Smith’s work is made up of abstract shapes and colours. Of course there’s nothing new about the idea of a portrait being something other than a traditional head and shoulders painting, but it is noteworthy that one of London’s leading galleries should take such a decisive step.

  3. Benjamin-dittrich-int-list

    German graphic artist Benjamin Dittrich is principally concerned with scale at both a micro and macro level. He preoccupies himself with subjects as large as the cosmos and as minute as molecular structures, zooming in and out in his textural works to reveal vast and complex systems. His retro-futuristic work is breathtakingly complex, utilising painted and printed layers to launch you though time and space. He’s got a new show opening at Spinnerei Archiv Massiv tonight in Leipzig, which if you’re based nearby we’d urge you to get down to. Utterly beautiful stuff!

  4. Chyrumlambert-port-2-int_copy

    Los Angeles-based artist Chyrum Lambert uses formal constraints like grid systems and scalpel blades to contain and compose his paintings made up of cut-and-paste figures, patterns and abstract narratives.

  5. Blamey-ct-6-int

    David Blamey, the artist who founded publisher Open Editions, has authored the first release from Continuous Tone, a series of sound works that treat the medium as a viable space for the production of art.

  6. Nathalie-due-pasquier-int-list-3

    Nathalie Du Pasquier is a figure who seems to leave a trail of intrigue behind her everywhere she goes. This is largely because, as a founding member of the Memphis group (an Italian design and architecture group founded in Milan in 1981) she’s been an unstoppable force in shaping the design world as we know it, colours, angles, ideas and all. But it’s also partly because her work is just so much fun.

  7. Escape-to-destiny-1mehdi-ghadyanloo-int-list

    Merging the style of the early 20th Century surrealists with contemporary street art, Tehran-based artist Mehdi Ghadyanloo’s work is strange and beguiling. He’s currently in London, busying himself with the mammoth task of creating murals all around the capital, including one measuring a whopping 3.4km. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also showing at the Howard Griffin Gallery in London, in an exhibition entitled Perception.

  8. List

    Highbrow folk like us often find the traditional emoticon can struggle to express how we really feel. We don’t ALWAYS want to convey that we’re blindly happy, crying with laughter or horizontally-lipped and nonplussed. Sometimes, we need something a little more creative. Thank the lord, then, that Hyo Hong has come up with just the solution, in the form of the multifaceted (in its truest sense) Cindy Sherman-icon.

  9. Art-belikov-int-list

    I can’t tell you a whole lot about Lithuanian artist Art Belikov other than he’s 24 years old and, er, Lithuanian. And that all his images are fantastical digital creations. But in spite of the lack of background information currently available to me I’d just like to say that his work is extraordinary. He’s a maker of 3D rendered images depicting scenes borrowed from late 90s sci-fi; all “vintage” cell phones and games consoles, cans of mysterious energy drinks and designer bottled water. There’s a 666 in his URL too so you can be sure he’s a cool guy! When we finally track the man down we’ll ask him some questions about what it all means, but for now just drink in the eerie beauty of his digital creations.

  10. Jessica-brilli-int-17

    If when you close your eyes at night you dream of tying a silk kerchief over your carefully curled ’do and hopping in a classic Chevy to sail down the West Coast, you might find yourself as enamoured as I do with the work of painter Jessica Brilli. She favours endless-seeming roads and vintage cars for her expressive oil paintings, and she’s got recreating them on canvas down to a fine art. Her landscapes are dream-like in their expansiveness and colour palette, while her portraits seems to hark back to an era when a Chevy was still commonplace and kerchiefs were still pretty cool. And a little picturesque fantasy never hurt anybody, eh?

  11. London-is-changing-intlist

    Public art project London is Changing makes Londoners uncomfortably aware of the truths we’re perhaps trying to ignore: that our city is morphing beyond recognition, that creativity is at risk, and that for many people, it’s simply becoming unaffordable.

  12. Bensanders-potdealer-3-int_copy

    While keeping himself busy with postmodern Howard Hodgkin-esque painting and collage work, Ben Sanders is somehow finding the time to paint funny faces on ceramics. Cutting through the “worthy lifestyle” pottery trend with googly eyes, zigzag nostrils and creepy grins, Ben has stamped his sense of humour and aesthetic all over these thriving succulents’ homes.

  13. Olafur-eliasson_little-sun-int-1

    A “giddy joy” was described as the feeling evoked by the artwork of Olafur Eliasson when we interviewed him for last year’s Autumn edition of Printed Pages, and with his monumental, often participatory pieces, it’s not hard to see why. From his incredible 2003 Weather Project at Tate Modern to its portable, socially-conscious, tiny counterpart Little Sun(which “produces clean, affordable, and portable solar-powered lamps to areas of the world without reliable access to electricity”), his work is a glorious, utterly original ray of light shining on the sometimes impenetrable art world.