As an artist, the images that compel you to create, draw, and sketch say a lot about you. It’s a reflection of your desires—an overflow what’s deep within one’s soul. For Swedish illustrator and copywriter Jovanna Radic Eriksson (@drawnbyjovanna), it’s the female body that inspires her. It’s probably a way to narrate her story, on how she, too, had come to terms with her own body.

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This is me. Last year I was asked if I wanted to be in an exhibition and the theme was self-portraits. I had to say no. I couldn’t stand watching myself because of depression and other things. But a couple of months later, I asked my husband to take a photograph of me, half naked. I felt that I needed to paint myself on a canvas, trying to reconcile with my body. ⏳

So I did. I’ve posted this one before, but I have to do it again, to show you that it’s possible to be your own best friend. Of course my situation is not perfect. Can it ever be? But I’m learning to love myself and I can definitely see a result. ❤️ And it’s not like I love myself everyday, or think that I’m gorgeous. Because it doesn’t matter if I’m hot or not. I don’t care if my breasts reach the floor or if I wear leggings and a dirty T-shirt. I’m me in every outfit or body. And fuck being such a perfect person. You already are the perfect person! You do not need to change yourself. You’re fierce! 💁🏻 I just wish we could enjoy each others’ company, and let our boobs dance in the air. up and down, and left and right! 💃🏻 Love you all! 🍓

Let’s get to know this talent more on this one on one exclusive interview with PLUMP!

When did you start drawing?

I tried to draw some digital work in December 2015 but I started to draw by hand in February 2016. So I’ve only illustrated for a couple of months.

Are you doing this professionally? What made you pursue art professionally?

I’ve just started to draw, I haven’t gotten the chance to pursue it professionally. I’ve received a lot of questions drawing for free for different medias, as well as I’ve been in two exhibitions. I’m currently home with a chronic disease called ME/CFS and I’m going for work training during the fall to see how much I can work in the future. My goal is 50 % as a communicator and the rest as an illustrator, so that I can work from home.
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Jovanna's first time to wear a swimsuit at the beach (pic by Klara Storbacka)

How did you come up with your style as an artist?

My style developed during time, well, only like in one month, from the day I started to draw in February. I’ve let my head go and just drew a lot. I let the creativity come to me. And I looked at other illustrators and drew real people, and then suddenly I had a style. It’s very weird because this wasn’t my goal. I just did it.

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Jovanna's illustration of blogger, Gabi Fresh

Why draw plus size bodies? What is body positivity for you? Why is it important?

Who are your major influences with your art?

I don’t have influences when it comes to illustrators. I’ve read a lot of graphic novels and I’ve always been jealous of them because I’ve also wanted to make some. I really can’t say a name. I think I’ve also been inspired by different accounts on Instagram without even knowing it. My main inspiration is all the women I draw, because most of them are real people.

Because I, myself, is a plus size woman, and I’ve always had problems with myself. I’ve been through a lot of trauma so I haven’t really liked myself. And last year I noticed that the body positivity wave was big and I read a lot about it in Swedish blogs. So I started to follow body positivity accounts everywhere and got rid of other stuff I followed that was all about normative bodies. I also went in therapy because of all my trauma and during that progress I realized that I had to be my own best friend. That took me to a process of getting to know myself. And also because I’m so tired of society always judging plus size people, and I just want to show the world that there is more than one body [type]. Body positivity for me is showing everyone how society has fucked up people’s brains to think that big and fat persons are different than others. But I also believe in body positivity because it makes people feel that they belong in the world. And I think that’s the biggest thing, to feel like your not alone and that people support you.

What do you wish to achieve by making art of big bodies?

I wish for people to not look at people’s bodies in a different way as well as making them feel fierce, awesome, strong and not alone!

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 Top 3 favorite artists on IG?

  • stinawollter. She’s a great artist, as well as a great fighter for feminism and body positivity.
  • lilla_berlin. It means “small Berlin”, and thats what they are calling the city Malmö in Sweden. Ellen Ekman is the genius behind these graphic comics. Every book she’s made has always made me laugh out really hard!
  • designhjalpen. This is an account that works like a charity. They post artists work and people get to chance to buy them for a good cause.

Best comment you’ve received on IG? Worst?

When a girl made a portrait of me, as well as when people say I’m an inspiration. I never thought that would happen. The worsr are, of course, all the penises I get in my mail. Also, the worst comment was from a guy who thought I shouldn’t write artist and illustrator as hashtags under a picture of me showing my body. Because he didn’t want to see that when he search for those tags. So ridiculous.

How do you deal with the negative people online?

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I haven’t gotten that much negativity yet, because I’ve just started to show pictures of me. And right now I don’t care because of the great community of powerful people surrounding me on Instagram.

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Message to PLUMP readers on how to see their bodies.

My biggest advice is to follow people who inspire you, as well as to get rid of celebrities that make you feel like shit, or even friends. When you surround yourself with positivity, you are doing your future self a favour, even if you don’t know it yet! It’s also okay to not feel great everyday—I don’t. My days are often crappy, but I’ve accepted that. In the end, I will always support you! Always! You should be proud of yourself for just being you. You are strong and lovable. Remember that!💕

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Jovanna's illustration of PLUMP's EICs, Danah & Stacy

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