Journal #22

Jon Koko

He’s work is like a breath of fresh air. It’s calming, restoring. Deeply influenced by his travels around Japan, Jon Koko takes inspiration from them in his works, paintings, and models. His illustration “Pond House” is now printed on our new foulard, for which we’ve chosen silk, to better communicate with his work: light, neat, delicate.

Hello Jon, could you introduce yourself? How did you start drawing and creating?

Started to draw very early, like many other children. But for me drawing was more than something amongst the subjects in school, it was one of my absolute favorite hobbies and I drew for many hours a day since I loved it so much. I often drew images of islands, cities, people, and houses because I thought it was fun to imagine playing around in those worlds, this is still present in me today.

In your illustrations I can see landscapes, interiors, architecture. But also everyday life, sensuality, and intimacy. How did these elements and the relationship between them become part of your expressive language?

It’s a good question, but when you boil it down, this expression is simply who I am and it reflects my life and how I view it at a certain time. All the different themes are my dear interests, and these topics make me feel good and motivated.

Through your work, I can often sense a strong Japanese influence. This is an aspect that somehow unites our aesthetics; for me, the fascination for Japan is something that belongs to me strongly for as long as I can remember, despite being so distant, geographically, and culturally. Is it like that for you too? If so, how do you explain it? And what does this culture bring to your art practice?

It is absolutely the same for me too, indeed. For us living in the west, we have a hidden universe inside of the world that is so full of valuable gems, and that is Japan. No matter what end you start, the Japanese culture has taken everything to its most refined expression, and therefore what you find in Japan is amazingly strong and inspiring. This alone is why I think I have been drawn to Japan for such a long time subconsciously. I have huge respect for the people and their culture and crafts. It is an inspiration that motivates me to work harder and explore life to a deeper level too.

If your art was music, what would it be?

Oh, that is a very tricky question. I wish I could be some peaceful and mysterious music like the ambient music made by Harold Budd. He is one of my absolute favorite musicians. His music has helped me a lot to connect and provoke ideas from music to visible art.

I believe that your work printed on silk fabric is highly valued and in a certain sense finds a new expressive path. How did the idea of a foulard come about?
Sometimes the most different elements, when combined, can complement each other. It’s a matter of good balance, I believe. The illustration “Pond House” represents fictional architecture. It’s solid, pointy, steady. Silk is instead soft, gentle, floaty. Together they are quite unexpected, don’t you think? But here they are, light as a feather.

Originally from the south of Sweden, Jon Koko completed his secondary studies at art school before launching himself as an independent artist and illustrator. In autumn 2011, he visited Japan for the first time: this was only an initiatory trip that marked an aesthetic turning point in his career. He went on to return several times, and these voyages gave rise to the series にほん15 (Nihon 15), from which the illustration Pond House comes from.