UK artist Magnus Gjoen is inviting fans to create their own masterpieces in lockdown

By Michelle Johnson | 11 May 2020 | Culture, Art

Gjoen’s Art Therapy colouring-in set puts a personal twist on works beloved by Meghan Markle and Kate Moss

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Artist Magnus Gjoen is inviting fans in the UK to create their own masterpieces while in lockdown, using printed versions of some of his most celebrated works. Gjoen’s Art Therapy colouring-in set includes six 21x21cm designs on fine archival paper, inspired by traditional pieces of Sèvres porcelain. 

Gjoen, whose famous clientele includes Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex and model Kate moss, has become known for his blend of street and fine art, putting a contemporary spin on traditional artworks. The Art Therapy project follows his collaboration with The Wallace Collection, for which he created a series of prints inspired by the museum’s Sèvres collection. 

Art Therapy is the first interactive colouring-in set by an artist, and Gjoen’s hope is that the pieces will be brought to life however the art-lover desires – though he recommends a blend of watercolours and a fine gold pen for extraordinary results. Gjoen will also showcase peoples’ interpretations via a digital gallery on his website, allowing for a sense of togetherness during this time of separation. 

The set includes three prints (with extra copies to allow for a practice run) of a grenade, scarab beetle, and an intricately decorative skull. Gjoen said: “For me, art is about rediscovery, taking things from the past and renewing them. This project will allow people from all over the world to redesign a piece of my art in their own way. An antidote to the boredom we’re all facing, the Art Therapy set is a way for people to spend their time and allows me to engage with my audience, encouraging them to question, challenge and rethink what art really is.”

Here, he tells Tempus how lockdown has inspired his work despite the difficulties, and how he hopes to inspire others with this project. >>

Related: The art galleries and theatres bringing London culture into our living rooms during lockdown

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Magnus, why is art so important during times of crisis? 
One can always get lost in beauty and art, it takes your mind away from the current and offers solace and escape. Art has always been used for propaganda and to boost morale. It can feed your mind and comfort. 

How has your work been affected by the lockdown? 
I have been lucky that most of the businesses I work with have remained open and been able to ship and deliver things even under lock-down. Although I usually enjoyed taking trips to approve and proof artworks at my printers grabbing lunch or having a meeting at the same time, I’ve been surprised at how self-sufficient it has all been having everything delivered. 

What inspired you to create Art Therapy as a collaborative project? 
I think most of us have more time on our hands and are slightly bored after finishing the entire Netflix catalogue. The Art Therapy series was made so that people can create something themselves, with a little help from myself, and as an antidote to boredom. 

What is your advice to fan who take part in Art Therapy?
They are meant to be hung on the wall afterwards as one would with an artwork, only it’s co-created by oneself. I kept seeing these line-drawings which people were supposed to colour in, however I wouldn’t want them on a wall, neither are they meant to last. Exploring the Art Therapy collection will hopefully give people a push to explore their artistic side and give them some satisfaction of being able to display it afterwards.