Johann Rohl at ‘Dark Movements’

Johann Rohl, the graduate in illustration who I wrote about here a while ago, has travelled to west Wales to stay with us at Ty Isaf, and to see Dark Movements at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre. After four days of intense conversations, leisurely meals and attic-studio visits during which we shared ideas about our various, independent projects, he’s heading back to Yorkshire this afternoon.


I shall miss him. It has been a great pleasure meeting for the first time, and getting to know him better. There have been long walks around the garden and in the surrounding countryside, and last night we went to a Midsummer Celebration Party held by my friend Mary-Ann Constantine. Throughout all these activities, Johann and Jack have been forging a firm friendship. Jack thinks Johann came here expressly to cuddle and play with him. (And maybe he did!)

Yesterday we pored over the beautiful project-work Johann has been making on the theme of Pomona, and I was blown away by the confetti-shower of tiny, beautifully wrought drawings scattered like blown flower petals all over the  kitchen table. Like me, Johann explores his themes with great intensity, in sketch-books, maquettes and loose drawings. Examining them is to take a fascinating stroll around a map of the artist’s mind.

Today we’ll take a last spin around the gallery at the Arts Centre, and then he’ll be whisked away by train and back to his own world. It’s been fantastic to have him here. I want him to come and live in my studio!

You can read my two-part post about Johann and his portfolio illustrations for Angela Carter’s Bloody Chamber stories, HERE and HERE.

11 thoughts on “Johann Rohl at ‘Dark Movements’

  1. Beautiful drawings by Johann, I can see that you must have had had a great time together. I know your dream was to have an artists colony there at Ty Isaf, but you have attracted so many people now I think it would be rather like Glastonbury and you would have to move out! Glad you are having some wind down time tooxxL

    • Liz, I did not know that Clive had dreams of creating an artists colony. What a magical place that would be!

      It is dangerous to plant this seed in the head of a marketing/events person like me, as before you know it ‘Clivefest’ will be taking place in the garden at Ty Isaf. Then Jack will be issuing an artist’s rider, with a demand that he will not make an appearance unless he has his own personal frisbee player beside him at all times to cater to his every whim!

      And it would all end with Peter suing the Artloggers to get his home back, as nobody would ever want to leave!! (-:

  2. I am not a fan of horror yet… but these posts (I went back and re-read Johann’s interview and image post) have given me a push to explore Angela’s words. I adore the little cut-outs and seeing them layered like that on the table. It makes me want to fiddle with the pieces and create a new tale. Wonderful lines and marks Johann, and great post Clive!

  3. Great, great drawings Johann, I’d love to play with all the pieces, seeing what creatures I can come up with. You’ve already got a unique and powerful style of your own, I’m envious!

  4. I must admit I am not much of a Nature Lover. I like trees, and I like gardens, and I love to look at flowing water, whether it is in streams, in rivers, or in the Ocean.

    But insects, of all sorts, give me the creeps. ( I was bitten by a poisonous spider as a child, and were it not for my grandmother who was afraid of nothing and gave me a deep cut to get the poison out, I would not be here. And I always have antidote for poison, as here, when it is the end of the season, there are lots of furious bees and wasps trying to take revenge of their approaching death, by stinging everyone, especially small blond children!) So I have to admit, no matter how great, the drawings of bees, of flies… are not my thing.

    But those men’s heads, with the beards, the curly hair and the thick eyebrows, those I really am in awe of. So please thank Johann for the drawings, and my thanks too, Clive, for telling us all about these last few days. You seem to be having a great time, relaxing and fulfilling at the same time. You deserve that and more. Much more.


    • Maria, the bearded man is Hercules and I agree that Johann has created an amazing maquette.

      Johann is currently working on a triptych of drawings on the 11th Labour of Hercules. If you are interested you can see his research for the project at his Pinterest page:

      I have fallen in love with his illustrations of the ancient dragon tree (second from the bottom in the above post). I love Johann’s mark-marking and I personally think the dragon tree would make an amazing repeat pattern for a fabric or a wallpaper.

  5. Clive, it’s good to read how much you have enjoyed being in Johann’s company this weekend. I am looking forward to seeing him on his return to Yorkshire to hear all about his adventures in Wales.

    Peter is right. Ty Isaf would be the perfect location for an artists colony or at least a summer camp. You would definitely have no trouble filling places!

  6. Theres some seriously good stuff in those sketchbooks, Johann’s pencil work has a lovely flowing quality, which is sparse and open yet simultaneously packed with dense detail.

    P.S. The sooner you open an artists colony in the grounds of Ty Isaf the better. Then the whole Artlog crew of followers can decamp to Wales to be tutored by your good self! 😉

    • Now there’s an idea worth celebrating. Make it so! Glad too to hear of Clive’s relaxing and enjoying visit with Johann at Ty Isaf. Wonderful work. I do love all those drawings, and unlike Maria who finds the bugs fearsome and a must avoid, I love them. I remember Clive’s wonderful earlier postings. I own antique Art Nouveau dragonfly and beetle brooches, and contemporary brooches of such things as Japanese Beetles that I wear on my suit coat instead of a tie. I’ll have to remember when Maria and I final meet to keep them at home. And well, Johann is quite as easy and delightful to look at as his work! And must be charming to hang out with too. Bravo for Ty Isaf’s open hearth!

      • If and when I finally meet you in person, I shall be so excited I will not mind the beetles or the dragonfly in the least ( as long as they don’t buzz or sting, or bite, of course )

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