JOHAN DECKMANN: “Make sure to see clearly.”
Name: Johan Deckmann
DOB: 1 July 1976
Place of Birth: Copenhagen, Denmark
Occupation: Artist, Psychotherapist and Author
First of all, tell me your story? Who are you? Let’s do the big thing here.
I live and work in Copenhagen, Denmark, where I have my studio as well as my psychological practice. I’m an educated psychotherapist who also works as an artist. However, my art has been overwhelmingly received throughout the world, and I enjoy doing it, so I will definitely continue.
Psychotherapist, writer, artist; makes complete sense to me as art is THE vehicle for psychological interaction, though, disruption of the daily grind and eventually awareness. How did your immediate surrounding react when they saw you bridge being the artist and the therapist?
Before my book series I was already painting, making sculptures and writing music, so my surroundings already knew me as an artist. I think they saw this bridge between psychology and art as a natural development as if I found my voice.
With the art project I Scream Factory, I figured that humour in art is a great tool to communicate serious matter, hence how I fell in love with your work. What does humour mean to you? And what about sarcasm?
For me, humour is an essential characteristic if you want to stay, not only sane but also happy. Humour is somehow the instrument of the light-hearted.
Humour can make unpleasant truths bearable and edible. I think that sarcasm should be used with caution. I never wish to offend, only to move. On the other hand, I actually don’t believe that you can insult someone, as you have no control over their mind, but they might feel offended, and that’s something completely different.
How did the first book cover happen, what was your initial gut feeling during and after the creation?
I was reading in a beautiful old copy of Sartre’s “Being and Nothingness” when it occurred to me that I could very easily express short-term confrontational sentences and that I could thereby reach more people than in my practice. I made the first piece in the book series that day, and I had an apparent feeling that this was the beginning of something good.
Having a business and a creative mind, how do you work both? What advice would you give anyone trying to bridge the two?
Just as in martial arts one uses the strength of your opponent, I use the strengths from both of my fields, both creatively and intellectually to create a synergy that I would not otherwise be able to develop. Be aware of that duality within yourself.
And when you’re not working, neither as an artist nor as a psychiatrist (writing doesn’t count)?
I’m with my family, and I write music.
Have you always been living in Denmark?
Yes, I have always been living in Denmark. I think that great things are happening on the creative scene in Copenhagen right now. Artists with expressions that are new to me. I’m attracted to original and surprising ideas rather than classical skill. I would like to recommend the Danish artists Frederik Næblerød, Rose Eken and Asger Carlsen.
Thinking back, what was the single one moment where you thought to yourself “life is alright”?
Sitting in my swing as the sky turned dark in my parent’s big old garden.
Do you wanna talk a bit about your values, what makes you tick and do you reflect back on them when making decisions?
Kindness, respect, awareness, presence, honesty, trust and passion is what I build my family on. These are also characteristics I am attracted to in other people. I love meeting people that are very different from me, but these qualities must be present.
When you sense something, or someone doesn’t feel right, how do you deal with the situation?
I trust my gut. There is nothing that stops me from leaving a person or situation that doesn’t feel right. I don’t spend my valuable time or energy on people or situations that don’t deserve it. I give, as far as possible, only the best to myself and my loved ones.
What’s the best advice you got? (Feel free to quote your own artwork.)
“There is no happiness if the things we believe in are different than the things we do” — Albert Camus.
Healthcare and self-care aren’t necessarily what people think of when thinking about the art world. Considering wanting to perform at an optimum level, it becomes clear very quickly that coffee and cigarettes only go that far. What do you think?
I think that the art world is a perfect place to create awareness and awareness just might lead to better wellbeing. Every day I meet people who blame bad habits when there are only bad decisions. We must reconsider the glasses that we have been given by our parents and by society. Because we perceive the world and ourselves through these glasses. Make sure to see clearly.
How do you start your day?
I run, do a few pushups, eat healthily, and then I try to find time to do what I love.
I am just visiting Vienna Contemporary, speaking with a female artist, about how creative women face deep-rooted prejudice. What’s your opinion on that? What do you see happening?
I actually don’t have so much to say about the subject. I don’t experience women getting a bad treatment in Copenhagen. Some of the brightest “stars” in Denmark right now are women and they are getting a lot of recognition. Fx. Rose Eken, Mie Olise, and Klara Lilja.
To read more about Johan and see more of his work, follow the link so nicely underlined here: http://deckmann.com/about/