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CHOPPING BLOCK: JONATHAN HABENS

Is life all that different on the other side of the ocean?  We share the same obsessions, fane over the same designs, find a common ground of passion for the arts.   After a few minutes with Jonathan Habens, I forget he is half a world away and realize what a wonderfully small world the internet has made us.

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POW:  Is it inappropriate to tell you how much I fangirled over your Game of Thrones synopsis/illustration? Do you get that reaction from many of your collectors/fans?

Jonathan:  Yes I did, but I am a fan myself so I completely overlook the fan-girl hysteria and usually join in with Game of Thrones chat. I would love to create some work that would be featured at one of the Mondo/HBO art show.

POW:  Apart from your art talent, I read both you and your mother have a talent for singing. Is this something you have ever pursued?

Jonathan: Yes, My mother is very musical, and growing up I was involved quite heavily in Musical Theater and dabbled with some instruments. However I must confess, I am nowhere near as good as her, and although I love to sing it has become a rather private love affair.

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 The Green Knight by Jonathan Habens

POW:  A lot of your work seems focused on androgyny and gender expression. Has this always threaded through your artwork or has it evolved, becoming more previvalent in recent years?

Jonathan:  I wouldn't say a lot of my work, I have always been fascinated by portraits. Androgyny worked its way into my work from trying to capture more of a fantasy, ethereal look. Old oil portraits of angels and even some Greek statues have this combination of beautiful & strong human forms.

Whilst at university I met lots of people with so many varied styles & aesthetics, I realized that someone’s aesthetic could really tell their story through a portrait. From there the peaces just fell into place.

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 Forest Guardian by Jonathan Habens

POW:  You mentioned still preferring to start with pencil and paper. Is this considered ‘old-fashioned’ in the art world? At what point in the creation of your art pieces do your images become digital?

Jonathan:  I think their will always be a place for traditional techniques; printmaking, drawing and painting onto canvas. I personally enjoy working away from the computer, there is so much you can create with technology and I do appreciate how talented many digital artists are, but for me it’s almost too much. I can’t edit/undo my ink drawings and I like that restriction!

POW:  A lot of your work featured on your Tumblr is on t-shirts. How did you become interested in working with textiles? Do you see yourself with a clothing line someday?

Jonathan: Absolutely, it's a big dream of mine to design for fabrics, even wallpapers. I love seeing the application of my drawings onto different textures and mediums, I have actually spend the last month screen-printing T-shirts to showcase at some ‘art to sell events’ this summer.

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 Squirrels by Jonathan Habens

POW: On that same line, how do you think the print on demand art sites has changed the art community? Do you think it has a positive or negative effect or neither?

Jonathan:  I think it's a great way for new artists to test the waters, I was so excited when I first realized how easy it was to set up and account and have the potential to sell world-wide.

POW:  I understand you are on several print on demand websites, how has your experience with Prints on Wood differed from the other print on demand art sites?

Jonathan:  I love the look of Prints on Wood, I've featured the link button first in the top left of my website. It’s nice that they are able to specialize to art-prints, and I have noticed they really celebrate the artist’s story. I do think it takes time to build up an audience for each different platform, I am hoping that by collating my different shops, all linking back to my new website, it will become easier for people to find what they want.

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For more information on Jonathan Habens, please visit his website at:  http://www.jonhabens.com/

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