interview bio website


The following is an interview that took place between September and November of 2001 with Conny Jonsson . The interview was conducted via email and the responses have been edited for content.

kiyotei: When and why did you create your website?

Conny: I’ve been online since early 1998 as some friends was nagging on me to show them some Photoshop tricks, that was quite time consuming though, so I put it on line - as some kind of Photoshop school - and also made a gallery where I put my examples ... killing many birds with one stone, so to speak. However, a lot of people abroad - preferably from US - start to sending me emails about the gallery and it went up in even more to do, hehe. I couldn’t manage all the mail replies and web updates on my own so finally in January 1999, I put it down. But my friends in US disagree and wanted me to, at least, put the gallery back, so in October 1999 I went online again with the Gallery as it looks like today. Well, with a few improvements maybe ...

kiyotei: Besides digital, do you create other types of art?

Conny: I used to work with oil and watercolor [many years ago] but nowadays I’m an allergic - asthma - but I still do some woodcarving from time to time, I like the feeling of wood and to see something “come alive” in my hands.

kiyotei: What kind of woodcarvings do you make? Shoes? crucifixes? chairs?

Conny: Small stuff of various kinds ... the last one I made was a pair of miniature ballet shoes for my niece.

kiyotei: How many artists do you know from your country that have artwork online?

Conny: Many artists are online in Sweden but there are few I know personally. However, I have to mention one of them though, named Channa Bankier, a famous Jewish painter and musician here in Sweden. I just love her artworks and have used one of her self portraits in a picture called ''Madonna'' in my gallery (page 3).

kiyotei: Does Channa have a website?

Conny: Oh yea, It’s not so often updated though but well worth a visit We’ve several things in common. We’re both “night workers”, cat-fanatics and suffering from a severe migraine and she got mail-bombed by nazis [because of her origin], and I got mail-bombed too because of a picture I did of a friends son [in Israel] the boy is blond with blue eyes [like a typical Scandinavian boy] and I put the Star of David in the background and called it ''innocent". They think I’m a kind of collaborator because of that pic and that I’ve made “dirt” of a beautiful Swedish boy ...! That pic will remain in the gallery as long as I get those hate-emails.

kiyotei: Have you collaborated in any online projects?

Conny: No, not really ... but it depends on what you’re aiming at?

kiyotei: Well there are several, for example SITO or any of the mailart networking projects.

No, I haven’t. I went to check out Wow, you guys have so many project “over there”! This manipulating or jointly-create a piece of art looks very interesting and fun to do. I’ve to study this! The Mail-Art phenomena are also very interesting but it’s not a very well known art form in Sweden. I know someone started it here in Sweden too, ‘94 or ‘95, but I can’t find anything about it on the net though.

kiyotei: I saw your artwork on the whyproject? How did you find out about the whyproject?

Conny: I got the link from a friends friend who sent it to me. I saw there was no Swedish contribution to the project so I sent the picture, which I made it a few days after the tragedy.

kiyotei: How did you create this work and what were you thinking about /feeling when you did this?

Conny: I made it in Photoshop except for the smoke texture which I took from a photo. I really don’t know what or if I were thinking at all. It was an impossible scenario - humans don’t act like that - and that made me depressed for several days. I had a feeling of frustration and despair and the picture came out from that. I went back when I got your mail and found your name there too [which I obviously missed at first]. Internet is a growing new world in a shrinking old world :) right?

kiyotei: Yes. It is the mother of all memes. What is the strangest thing that has ever happened to you?

Conny: Natural or supernatural? - Well, with many years behind me it had to be when I got off my drug abuse. Most of my “friends” from that dark time are dead by now and those who’re still alive, lives like zombies ...

kiyotei: How about supernatural?

Conny: My father is born in the northern part of Sweden called Flyn in Angermanland [sparsely populated] and he took the family to this place every summer holidays. One summer he told us that he want to show us his grandparents home, an old abandoned log cabin in the middle of nowhere, miles from the civilization. So, we took the ride and came to the place late in the night. We had to walk through the woods for a while before we could even see the cabin and it was completely silent, no sounds at all and calm and foggy. We all felt a bit creepy because of the silence and my father stopped about 100 feet from the cabin. There was light in the cabin and a white cow stood bound with a rope just outside the cabin. We stood there for several minutes and just watch the scene, whispering and wondering. Suddenly the cow was gone and the light was off and the sound was back, in front of our eyes! We all get scared and wanted to go back to the car but my father went forward to the cabin and we went slowly after him. There was no footsteps or anything and the cabin was tumbledown! That was the first time [and only] I saw my father scared to death. We ran to the car and fled. We talked about this event many years later and my father told me some other weird stuff he had experienced. I too have some experiences but that's another story ...

kiyotei: Ah yes! The infamous ghost-cow of Sweden. I've heard that tale before. :-) Tell me something about the town where you live.

Conny: I live in Sodertalje 30 km south of Stockholm. Sodertalje is a town with almost 78,000 inhabitants - 80 nationalities are represented in Sodertalje. 40% of the municipality’s inhabitants have a foreign background. So it’s multi cultural and very fun to live in, but there are situations when it’ll become tense too, as it did after the September 11, but Sodertalje is so well-established as an immigrant town that open racism is not really a problem. There are hundreds of restaurants, cafés and small shops and also several theatre groups and a rich musical life [I had to read our tourist information to give you this info, hehehe].

kiyotei: What can you tell me about the town that isn't in the travel books. What do you like about your town? Is there anything unusual or interestingly unique about it?

Conny: There isn't any unique or special about Sodertalje it's a common industrial town. Though, our 600 m canal through the town is built [more or less] by Russian prisoners of war. And the town is about 1000 years old ... We have the oldest [in the world] coal fired propeller driven steamer, with original engine. Called Ejdern. But that's probably not what you want to hear, haha, hmmm ... Well, there's something. In august, every year, artists and others get together on a hill near Sodertalje canal to illuminate [with fire] a sculpture called "solspann" made by the polish artist Wladyslaw Hasior. Many people of Sodertalje are engaged in different art projects. There's a lot of small and big theatres, museums, music groups, artists and writers and so on ... and of course Bjorn Borg the Tennis player, hehehe. I like the town because it's beautiful. It's surrounded with water and have large green parks and a huge overgrown hill in the middle of the town and many ancient monuments. It's... just unique.

kiyotei: Well it just so happens that I love coal fired propeller driven steamers! The solspann sounds interesting - sort of like a small burning man except you don't set fire to the sculpture and less people are naked. How do you think the Internet has helped you as an artist? What do you think the future of art will be on the Internet? How much time do you spend on the Internet?

Conny: Well, first of all, I'm an asthmatic so the graphic tools in my computer is very convenient. Second, All the possibilities I've to learn from other artists around the world through Internet. I think that's the big thing with Internet - for me anyway. Painters, musicians, writers or whatever comes together in a big worldwide community. I believe the computer art will exist equal to real-painted art in the future. And I'm looking forward for future developments of tools like graphic tablets that will give us more control while painting.
I spend a couple of hours a day on the Internet, checking all my friends sites, looking for information, art, news and so on ...

kiyotei: Do you have any pets?

Conny: Yea, I've a male cat, Babsan, named after a famous drag-queen here in Sweden. He got that name because we had some difficulties to find out what sex it was. He drinks beer, burping and enjoy to computing just like me!

Babsan by Conny

kiyotei: I wonder if my rabbit Koko would drink beer? He loves anything crunchy, like crackers and dog biscuits. What kind of beer do you drink? Kronenburg?

Conny: All sorts but I prefer light and sweet. I like Carlsberg or Tuborg [Danish] :)

kiyotei: Well face the monitor and I'll virtually toast you. I am drinking Dos Equis. . . Skol! What interests do you have besides art? What type of work do you do?

Conny: I'm the houseperson here. I' live with my sister, single like me, and we're taking care of our old mother. My sister Elisabeth is the working person who provide us with money and I do the cleaning, baking, and cooking. I really enjoy to bake and cook. Sometimes however I do some computer work for a small company [and others] like signs, plates, logos and that kind of stuff. My biggest interest besides art is my computer. I like to tweak and find out all the "secrets". And I read books, especially fantasies.

kiyotei: Baking and art must go hand in hand. Ed Giecek used to be a baker and Ken Miller is a vegetarian dabbler in the culinary arts. By coincidence, I too enjoy cooking - but perhaps that is because I enjoy eating so much. Thanks for taking the time to communicate with us Conny. Keep on pushing those pixels!

Conny: Thank You Kiyotei. It's a privilege to be a part of Flashlight and i really enjoyed the interview. My very best wishes for you and your inspiring website. Say hello to Koko from me ;) btw, In Swedish "Koko" means "silly" - hehe!


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