Interview: Mysterious Post-it Note Artist John Kenn

When we first laid eyes on John Kenn’s amazing post-it note art, we instantly fell in love. Not only are each of his pieces extremely creative, Kenn’s art shows that it doesn’t necessarily matter what medium you use; it ultimately comes down to the message.

Try and look for any information on John Kenn and you’ll find it to be quite the challenge. Perhaps it’s because he wants the art to speak for itself. Or maybe it’s because post-it note art isn’t his full-time job, rather, it’s his part-time hobby. As a writer and director of children’s television shows, Kenn uses his imagination on a daily basis. To keep his ideas flowing and to now serve an enthusiastic crowd, he continually shares his new pieces via his blog.

We were lucky enough to score an interview with Kenn after we hunted him down (we had to leave a comment in one of his posts because he doesn’t even have an email address up anywhere). Read that interview below, after enjoying the creepiest yet coolest post-it note art you’ll ever see.

Can you give me a brief background about you and your work? Particularly which television shows you write and direct?
I have a Bachelors degree in Character Animation from the Animation Workshop in Denmark. I graduated in 2007 and have been working at Copenhagen Bombay for about 3 years. Right now, I am working on two different TV-shows: I am directing Carsten & Gitte’s Funky-Tonky Treehouse 2nd season (we are filming this and next week) which is a puppet show. The other one I am both writing and directing is a sitcom for kids with three monkeys who run their own restaurant. It is called Restaurangotang. (It only has a Danish title at the moment). Other than monkeys, it has a ninja, an elf and a grumpy man with newspaper.

Why did you start this project?
So I wouldn’t die. (I know it is a silly answer, but I just HAVE to draw and I HAVE to tell stories and I have to do it fast, and by doing it this way on post-it notes I can get it all out fast, so that I won’t stress myself (or bore myself) to death.)

Are you a professionally trained artist?
I am a professionally trained character animator. Drawing is just something I have been doing all my life from the very start. I am not a professionally trained writer or storyteller, but I guess that is also something I have been doing for as long as I remember.

What has the response been like to your post-it note art?
It has been very good. I didn’t expect there to be any response, but a lot of people seem to be enjoying them.

How do you come up with your stories?
I have no idea… sorry. And I try not to think about it that much, but I use whatever pops into my head and then just throw away what doesn’t work.

What are they based on (and/or what are you inspired by)?
Some on childhood nightmares but mostly I am very inspired by literature and folklore. Stephen King is without a doubt the biggest inspiration, both his work-methods and his stories. The other big one is, of course, H.P. Lovecraft.

We noticed a Tim Burtonesque feeling to your art. Are you inspired by him?
A tiny bit, especially his early works: Frankenweenie, Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands. I think I am inspired by the same things as he was inspired by as a young artist, and from what I know we both suffered the same kind of childhood in the suburbs.

What do you hope others will get out of your art?
It warms my heart when I am able to scare people or just give them the sense of having experienced a small adventure from something so simple as a drawing on a post-it note.

Thanks for the interview, John. Love your ghoulishly great pieces.

John Kenn

Related:
Tim Burtonesque Stories on Post-it Notes





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