Johan Wahlstrom was born in 1959 in Stockholm, Sweden, lives and works in New York and is a fifth generation artist on his mother’s side. Although art was in his blood, his first creative direction was rock and roll, where he had a long and successful career as a keyboardist and singer, traveling with Ian Hunter, Graham Parker, Mick Ronson and many Scandinavian artists. After 18 years, the life of rock and roll reached him. Wahlstrom moved to a small town in France, where he did nothing but paint for seven years, part of that time under the tutelage of Swedish artist Lennart Nystrom. Wahlstrom’s dark narrative paintings of heads and torsos in acrylic and ink are inspired by cryptic, often ironic, social critiques he picks up on pieces of paper in his studio.
Johan Wahlstrom is one of today’s artists who is making a conscious effort to describe the social political landscape of our contemporary world. The work is relevant on many levels. His use of political iconography and the style of bra painting reveals a juxtaposition of issues facing everyday life. The use of corporate media images and information gathered from several new outlets are the foundations of her compositions. A narrative emerges that is a time capsule of our current society.
In his current series, “House of Lies” Wahlstrom represents a world full of deception, ignorance and chaos. In some of his monochromatic paintings, stripes of black tears connect distorted faces, creating a chorus of potentially suffering voices in a singular composition.
I paint to stay insane.
I paint anxiety to stay calm.
I paint war to have peace.
I paint sadness to be happy.
I paint darkness to be in the light.
I paint death to be alive.
I paint a story so I don’t have to tell a story.
- Artnet, USA
- Huffington Post, USA
- WhiteHot Magazine, USA
- Quite Lunch Magazine, USA
- Art Pulse Magazine, USA
- Forbes Magazine, USA
- Art Versed, USA
- Konstvarlden, Sweden
- Opulens Magazine, Sweden
- TV4 National Television, Sweden
- Wall Street International Magazine, UK
- Art Fuse, USA
- Art Voices, USA
- Miami Times, USA
- Bedford & Bowery, USA
- Macura Museum, Serbia
- Swedish Finn Historical Society, USA
- Doron Klinghofer, AMBA, London, UK
- David Brolliet Collection, Switzerland
- Marie Taittinger Collection, Belgium/France
- Eileen S Kaminsky Family Foundation, USA
- Mana Contemporary Collection, USA
- Fondazione Opera Campanda dei Caduti, Italy
- Spazio-Tempo Collection, Italy
- Bell of Peace Foundation, Italy
- Mattias Jonsson Family Collection, Marbella, Spain
- Liza Marklund Family Collection, Stockholm, Sweden
- Mona Sahlin Collection, Stockholm, Sweden
- Ivar Jacobsson Family Collection, Verbier, Switzerland
- Es.Arte Gallery, “Hidden Figures”, Solo Exhibition, Marbella, Spain. May-June 2018
- Georges Bergés Gallery, “Life Is Good”, Solo Exhibition, New York, NY, USA. March-April 2018
- Cross Contemporary Art Gallery, “Mark Me” Group Exhibition, Curated By Ford Crull, Saugeries, NY, USA, February 2018
- Robert Kananaj Gallery, “Realistic Abstraction”, Group Exhibition, Toronto, Canada, February 2018
- Gallery Ekvall-Tornblom, “House Of Lies”, Solo Exhibition Stockholm, Sweden, February, 2017
- Georges Bergés Gallery, “Existential”, Group Exhibition, New York, NY, USA, February, 2017
- Gallery 128, “Red, Black & Blue, The First 100 Days”, Group Exhibition, New York, NY, USA, April 2017
- Georges Bergés Gallery, Solo Exhibition, “Distorted Happiness”, New York, NY, USA, June-July 2017
- Petra Lossen Gallery,Group Exhibition, “Political Poetical” curated by Paco Barragan, Zurich, Switzerland. November-December 2017. Artists in the exhibition: Erwin Olaf, Santiago Sierra, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Johan Wahlstrom
- London Art Fair, Knight & Webb Gallery, London, UK, January 2016
- WhiteBox NYC, “MakeAmericaGreatAgain”, New York, USA, Group Exhibition, February 2016
- BuBox, “Forever” curated by Gery Van Tendeloo and Jerome Jacobs, Kortrijk, Belgium, March-May 2016, Among other artists in the show: Gerhard Richter, Joseph Beuys, Jake&Dinos Champman, Gavin Turk.
- Castrum Peregrini, “Read My Lips” curated by Paco Barragán, Amsterdam, Holland, Group Exhibition, April-June 2016. Among other artists in the show: Shepard Fairey, Nicola Verlato, Ronald Ophuis, Nedko Solakov and Kepa Garraza
- Gallery Ekvall+Tornblom, “House Of Lies”, Stockholm, Sweden, Solo Exhibition, April 2016
- Form/Space Atelier, Seattle, USA, Solo Exhibition, April-July 2016
- WhiteBox NYC, “Let The Bidding Begin”/”Pay Per Inch” Performance by Johan Wahlstrom, May 31st, 2016
- Georges Bergés Gallery, New York, USA, Group Exhibition, Summer 2016
- MakeShift Museum, Los Angeles, USA, 60 Americans, Curated By Terrence Sanders, October-November 2016
- WhiteBox NYC, New York, USA, Act Of Sedition, Group Exhibition, Curated by Raul Zamudio and Juan Puntes, October-November 2016
- Centre Cultural Can Gruart, Girona, Spain, Group Exhibition, December 2014 – January 2015
- Coohaus Art Mora, N.Y.C (Chelsea), New York, USA, Group Exhibition, January 2015
- Gallery Different, London, UK,”Kiss” Group Exhibition, January-February 2015
- Galleri Ekvall+Tornblom, Stockholm, Sweden, Solo Exhibition “House Of Lies”, February 2015
- Arte Cremona Art Fair, Genova, Italy, March, 2015
- FONDAZIONE OPERA CAMPANA DEI CADUTI. “Human Rights”, Group Exhibition, Curated by Roberto Ronca, Rovereto, Trento, Italy, June-August 2015
- Robert Kananaj Gallery, Toronto, Canada, Group Exhibition, RKG Fourth Anniversary, July 2015
- Artist In Residency at Eileen S Kaminsky Family Foundation (ESKFF) – MANA Contemporary, Jersey City, NJ, USA. September-December 2015
- Van Der Place Gallery, New York, USA, Solo Exhibition, “House Of Lies”, November-December 2015