Tony Johansen An artist passionate about paint
I started making paint some time around 1980. David at Oxford Art
Supplies had arranged for me to meet the late John Buckwell who was at
that time the Paint Chemist at Matisse/Derivan a local acrylics
manufacturer. I remember it well, a sunny afternoon. John welcomed me
into his laboratory and started to reveal the make up of acrylic
paints, and how he could test them, and experiment with all manner of
Over subsequent months John would give me samples of experimental
resins and pigments for me to 'try'. This was the beginning of a love
affair with the most intimate secrets of my craft that has continued to
By 1989 I had written the beginnings of this treatise, self published
under the very original tile of 'Artist's Pigments'. I was in
correspondence with major paint manufacturers around the world
questioning dubious practices and lobbying for the adoption of new
higher performance pigments, the discontinuing of pigments of poor
quality, and the adoption of universal standards such as ASTM. No doubt
the passionate artist from Australia with his humble booklet was seen
by some as a minor irritation rather than a help. However it has been
pleasing to see that many of the concerns I was raising at the time
were becoming items of of serious consideration due to many other
people also recognizing a need for change.
Why do I make paint? Because
I need to sometimes
I rarely make paint. I have a high regard for the skills and experience
of most manufacturers. But there are times that a color I want and need
is simply not made. I enjoy then the empowerment of the artist
independent of the manufacturers for all of my needs. I simply get the
pigment and make a batch of the color into the paint I require. I have
for example the most gorgeous deep Permanent Rose which is actually
made by Old Holland as a watercolor and as an oil paint, but not as an
acrylic which I work in. So I just made my own and the color is
wonderful to use - as an acrylic.
I also have some Venetian Red pigment from the same quarry that
supplied Titian. To me it is sheer poetry to make up a color just as
Titian would have as an apprentice, and then be able to use it. For me
that is artist's heaven, to be able to feel the touch of the ages of
wonderful art as I work. It is not rational, but it is real.
Have a look at my work I
hope you enjoy it
My artwork has become increasingly web oriented over the last 2 years.
My larger paintings have their own web sites where background
information, out takes (if any) are found and the 'making of' story
demanded by modern pop culture.
I am using the internet as a global virtual gallery, bypassing the
regular gallery system and finding a global audience. It seems my work
is very popular in North America and Northern Europe (especially
Britain, Netherlands and Germany). Increasing numbers of visitors come
from China and India too. Recently the New York Arts magazine placed me
on their site as a 'pick and tip' for 2006. Little do these people
realize that this online exhibition is in some cases showing paints
that may be made by age old methods alongside the latest high tech
product of a laboratory. Isn't life strange these days?
Here are 3 web sites about my work to choose from, or enjoy all 3.
Don't forget to bookmark me for future reference. Enjoy.
My main web site:
Diary Of An Artist In A New World - My online journal
Gatherr - A fluid stream of cultural consciousness (scrapbook)
A self portrait:
portrait of Leo Sayer: http://www.voiceinmyhead.net
Classes (Sydney only): http://www.kingscross.blogs.com/academy
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