Magnus Gjoen is the former Vivienne Westwood denim and graphic designer, who abruptly changed his career from fashion to art while trying to decorate his own home. I got the opportunity for a quick Q&A with the London based artist who is using objects containing strong symbolic meanings in a beautiful and sensible way.
MM: How’s London, and what are you doing today?
MG: London. Well right now I’m in the bathtub which is the only place I have time to write this (or dictate to my iPad). There’s a lot to do with three shows on the horizon, moving to another house and quitting smoking (electronic).
MM: How did you end up where you are?
MG: I’ve been doing art for a few years now. But I started working in denim and fashion design for the last 10 years. It all started with wanting to decorate my own flat some years ago, and before I knew it, and with encouragement from friends, it had snowballed into having to leave my day job and become a full-time artist.
It wasn’t just about what do I want on my walls it was also about what other people would hang on their walls.
MM: Your artwork is edgy but also a bit romantic, so what do you want the work to convey to others?
MG: I tend to look for beauty in the macabre. It’s about showing the audience something which they have a different relationship to and changing this and making them see that it can also be seen in a different light. In the end it’s about beauty and the unexpected, but also play to peoples’ emotions towards certain objects.
MM: Do you get inspired by art, fashion or life itself? What’s the most important source of inspiration?
MG: I get inspired by everything around me. Art is for sure one of my biggest inspirations whether it’s street, contemporary, modern or Renaissance art. You can take little snippets from each one, whether it’s a shape or color, it all coalesces into something new or different. I’ve been living between London, Bologna and Florence for the past two years for this reason; the more you see the more you get inspired.
MM: What do you have planned for the future?
MG: I’ve got a few shows coming up, two in London and a solo show in Florence. We’re doing a lot of porcelain pieces for the Florence show, so that’s exciting. And we’re currently working with Converse to make an art piece for the Amy Winehouse Foundation.
MM: Coming to Scandinavia anytime soon?
MG: Nothing on the calendar yet, but I’ll go back to Norway for a week to see family at some point this summer and there is a long overdue trip back to Copenhagen where I used to live.