Artist’s Statement


I paint to keep myself insane.

I paint anxiety to be calm.

I paint war to have peace.

I paint sadness to be happy.

I paint the dark to be in the light.Ipaint death to be alive.

I paint a story so that I don’t have to tell a story.


Johan Wahlstom is one of

today’s brightest artists who is making a conscious effort to describe the

social political landscape of our contemporary world. The work is relevant on

many levels. His use of political iconography and brash painting style brings

to the fore a raw juxtaposition of issues facing everyday life. The use of

corporate media’s images and information gathered from various news outlets are

the underpinnings of his compositions. A narrative emerges that is a time

capsule of our society today. A sharp critique of fascism and authoritarianism

is a reoccurring theme throughout. In his current series, “House of Lies”

Wahlstrom depicts a world full of deception, ignorance and chaos. In some of his monochromatic paintings

streaks of black tears connect distorted faces, creating a chorus of

potentially suffering voices in a singular composition.

The titles of the work may be

ironic at times but the painting’s narratives strike a true emotional chord

with the politically engaged viewer.




Johan Wahlstrom was born in

1959 in Stockholm, Sweden, and is a fifth-generation artist on his mother’s

side. Though art was in his blood, his first creative direction was rock and

roll, where he had a successful and long career as a keyboardist and singer,

touring with Ian Hunter, Graham Parker, Mick Ronson and many Scandinavian

artists. After 18 years, the rock and roll life caught up with him. Wahlstrom

moved to a small village in France where he did nothing but paint for seven

years, part of that time under the tutelage of Swedish artist, Lennart Nystrom.

Wahlstrom’s dark narrative paintings of heads and torsos in acrylic and ink are

inspired by cryptic, often ironic social critiques that he collects on scraps

of paper in his studio.

Since 1999, Wahlstrom’s work

has been displayed in galleries across Europe and the US.


Selected Publications:

Forbes Magazine, USA

Art Versed, USA

Konstvarlden, Sweden

Walls Street International Magazine, UK

Art Fuse, USA

Art Voices, USA

Miami Times, USA

Bedford & Bowery, USA


Selected Collections

David Brolliet Collection, Switzerland

Eileen S Kaminsky Family Foundation, USA

Mana Contemporary Collection, USA

Fondazione Opera Campanda dei Caduti, Italy

Spazio-Tempo Collection,


Bell Of Peace Foundation,


Mattias Jonsson Family Collection, Marbella, Spain

Liza Marklund Family

Collection, Stockholm, Sweden

Mona Sahlin Collection,

Stockholm, Sweden