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Interview with John Kenn: The Post-It Note King

John Kenn - HouseThe first time I saw something by John, I knew it was something special. His eerily imaginative art on a deceptively simple medium was a thing of wonder.

If you’ve never heard of him–I wouldn’t be surprised. The mysterious artist lists little of himself. Instead, he lets his terrifying and wondrous art do the talking. And really, who wouldn’t want to be mysterious?

A Denmark-based writer/director with a background in character animation, John currently directs children’s television shows. Despite his busy life, he always finds time to draw. So what makes John’s work different?

John Kenn - FollowHe does it all on post-it notes.

His work has been compared to Tim Burton, Edward Gorey, and Maurice Sendak, among others. He is all of these and so much more. Inspiration comes from all angles and he never strikes me as derivative. Rather, he takes an old, simple style and makes it new with his own flares and insights. Do yourself a favor and visit his blog. He is constantly posting new pieces and each is as terrific as the last.

In case you’re wondering (I know I was!), you can find his art for sale at MOHS exhibit. John doesn’t do commissions, but you can buy during his showings.

And now, a few questions with the artist!

When did you first become interested in drawing?

John Kenn - DinnerWhen I was about three-years-old; I have been drawing on and off ever since.

What made you decide to draw on post-its?

They are always around and I like the small format. Plus, they represent something extremely grown up and boring–it is where you write your to-do-list in the office and what to bring home from the supermarket. I like the contrast of the boring and the fantastic.

Do you ever find you need more space?

I do bigger as well…I just started something 6×2 meters.

Do you draw and let ideas come to you or does the idea come first?

It is very different, but mostly with the post-its I just start drawing.

I’ve heard your art compared to everything from Tim Burton to Edward Gorey to Maurice Sendak. Is your style influenced by any artist(s) in particular?

John Kenn - BalloonEdward Gorey has a huge influence on what I do, but not Tim Burton or Maurice Sendak…but I do like them.

While not out-rightly scary, much of your art has a creepy edge–what do your kids think of your work?

I have both a boy and a girl, but they are not old enough to really care about what I draw…they are 18 months…but in time I hope to really scare them.

I understand you are a television director for Copenhagen Bombay. Does your art ever inspire your work in television or vice versa?

No never, I keep them completely separated.

Have you ever considered doing art for books or compiling your own art book?

Yes…I will be working on that this summer.

Thanks so much for the interview, John!

John Kenn - Umbrellas

John Kenn - Fence

John Kenn - Dock

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5 Comments

  1. […] Post-it Note King Posted on April 11, 2011 by djcarani As promised! My short interview with artist John Kenn is up over at Fantasy Faction. Check it out to learn a little about the man […]

  2. Avatar Autumn2May says:

    Amazing artwork! I love the piece with the kids flying away on their umbrellas! I’d never seen this artist’s work before. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. Really fantastic artwork, and very nicely written article–thanks for bringing this amazing artist to my attention!

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