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Jersey City
United States

Johan Wahlstrom, Artist Statement.

I see myself as a “post-post-modernist” painter of truth, exploring the psychological and spiritual toll of some of the most pressing social, economic, and political issues in our society.

In our ever-accelerating media cycle, we process vast amounts of textual information daily, but often it is an iconic image that endures. For every crisis, triumph, and political intrigue, there is often an image that puts a human face to the news, capturing our empathy and becoming shorthand for the event itself.
Faces serve as a barometer of the news—how we should respond, how we should feel, how much we should care—they symbolize the times and political systems that we live in, to human monstrosities and their conflicts for dominance.

My paintings explore both our emotional entanglements with current events and the space these images hold in how we collectively understand them. I draw my inspiration from my previous career in music, reflected in the use of layered density of color and composition. I work to keep a constant feeling of alienation in my paintings, which in tandem with my color palette connects to a long history of a gloomy and mysterious aesthetic from the Northern Hemisphere.


Johan Wahlstrom from Stockholm, Sweden is one of today’s brightest artists who is making a conscious effort to describe the social political landscape of our contemporary world.
Johan Wahlstrom ś ironic series Social Life gives a perfect sense both from a conceptual as a formal point of view of this estrangement. He is a magnificent observer of our social life’s.
He is a fifth-generation artist on his mother’s side. Though art was in his blood, his first creative direction was rock and roll, where he had a successful and long career as a keyboardist and singer, touring with Ian Hunter, Graham Parker, Mick Ronson and many Scandinavian artists. After 18 years, the rock and roll life caught up with him. Wahlstrom moved to a small village 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 are inspired by cryptic, often ironic social critiques that he collects on scraps of paper in his studio. Wahlstrom lives and works in Jersey City, NJ, USA. His works have been exhibited since 1998 across Europe and the USA in solo shows and group shows with artists like Andy Warhol, AI Weiwei, Gerhard Richter, Santiago Sierra, Erwin Olaf, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Jake &Dinos Chapman, and David Salle.

Selected Collections:

David Brolliet Collection, Geneva, Switzerland
Peter Rothschild Collection, New York, USA
The Modern Museum Of Art, Dubrovnik, Croatia
Eileen S Kaminsky Family Foundation, USA
National Gallery, Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovinia
Corinne Stempfer Collection, Paris, France
Ethan Cohen Family Collection, New York, USA
Georges Berges Family Collection, New York, USA
Swedish Finn Historical Society, Seattle, WA USA
400 Clairmont Urban Renewal (Real Estate), Jersey City, NJ, USA
Doron Klinghofer, AMBA, London, UK
A Kasteyeu State Museum, Kazakhstan
Mana Contemporary Collection, Jersey City/Miami, USA
Fondazione Opera Campanda dei Caduti, Italy
Spazio-Tempo Collection, Italy
Macura Museum, Serbia
Bell of Peace Foundation, Italy
Mattias Jonsson Family Collection, Marbella, Spain
Marie Taittinger Collection, Belgium/France
Thomas Bodstrom Family Collection, Stockholm, Sweden
25 Senate Place (Real Estate), Jersey City, NJ, USA
Liza Marklund Family Collection, Stockholm, Sweden
Mona Sahlin Collection, Stockholm, Sweden
Ivar Jacobsson Family Collection, Verbier, Switzerland

Selected Publications

Art Critical, USA

Paper Magazine, USA

Brooklyn Rail, USA

Artnet, USA

Huffington Post, USA

WhiteHot Magazine, USA

Quite Lunch Magazine, USA

Art Pulse Magazine, USA

Forbes Magazine, USA

Konstvarlden, Sweden

TV4 National Television, Sweden

Wall Street International Magazine, UK

Art Fuse, USA

Miami Times, USA