MARI KANSTAD JOHNSEN – Biography
Mari was born in Bergen, Norway. She graduated from Konstfack University in Stockholm with an MA, having gained her BA at Oslo National Academy of the Arts. Mari has been represented by Heart since 2016, after first meeting in 2012.
Mari’s energetic and expressive artworks are informed by regular sketching and figure studies. In her commissioned work she often communicates through the body language and facial expressions of her characters. Mari works regularly for the Norwegian broadsheets Morgenbladet and Aftenposten as well as other editorial clients in the UK and the US. She has also developed a close working relationship with Norwegian book publishers Magikon and Gyldendal who have commissioned covers for classics by authors such as Sylvia Plath and Doris Lessing, as well as published Mari children’s books. Magikon commissioned Mari at the time of her graduation for the children’s book ‘Vivaldi’ which went on to win a Gold Award for Illustration from Visuelt. More awards have followed for her subsequent books ‘Ballen’, ‘Tunellen’, ‘D is for Tiger’ and most recently ‘Livredd I Syden’ which have continued to build her reputation in Norway as an award winning children’s book writer and illustrator.
In addition to her work in publishing Mari has created visitor guides for The National Gallery of Oslo as well as a board game for the gallery, to commemorate the 100th year of Norway’s constitution.
Mari has widely exhibited her work as well as creating site-specific murals and wall paintings and self-published artists books ‘Blue Cabin’ and ‘Liquid Air’ made as part of residencies in The Netherlands and Italy.
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365 magazine, Atlasmag(DK), The Center for Nynorsk, Die Zeit Leo, Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, HHMI Bulletin, HOHE Luft, Jazznytt magazine, K Magasinet (Aftenposten), Kunstløftet, Magikon, Morgenbladet, Mosaic Science, Netlife/Webdagene 2016, Norwegian National Museum of Art, Psykopp magazine, Samlaget, Tidsskrift for den norske Legeforening, The Wire