Johanna Barthet is an artist, wife, mother, passionate, and a dreamer, with a zest for living life to the fullest.
When and how did you get started?
As a child, we moved to Sliema, and became neighbours with Debbie Caruana Dingli who used to fascinate 6-year-old me with her endless drawings and cartoons. I think back to my childhood and cannot remember myself without a pencil in hand, forever creating doodles. The subject however was always the same: a girl with shoulder-length hair with a fringe – myself, or a version of myself. Over the years I would let this passion go, but something would always happen to ignite it again, and the past 12 years have seen me attend a series of short courses wherever available on the island leading me to produce the collection of works I own today.
What genre do you consider your work to be?
My work is definitely figurative, almost always involving people or a person. As a style I would say it has been likened to the movements of the early 20th century.
Describe your work in 10 words or less.
Human, emotional expression; capturing the essence, the soul, the persons we are when we are alone with ourselves.
Where was your first exhibition held?
My first solo exhibition is in March 2019. I have finally felt ready to show my work publicly other than through social media and can say that I’m actually looking forward to the day.
Do you have a favourite from among your own artworks? If so, why?
My favourite artwork is a painting I started doing of my daughter which ended up becoming a self-portrait. It sort of morphed, with a life of its own, as painting often does!
What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment I’m working on finalising the collection for my first solo, working on some commissioned portraits and cooking up ideas in my head for a second exhibition.
Which artist’s work are you most inspired by?
I am mainly inspired by artists who paint people as a subject. I am always drawn to raw genuine works, baring the soul. locally I am inspired by Andrew Diacono, and internationally by Paula Modersohn Becker and Chaim Soutine, among so many others.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
A personal shopper
What is the epitome of happiness for you?
Looking at my canvas and realising I have created a piece of work the way I envisaged it in my head! I literally get a high!
What do you love about Malta?
Summer: the beach, the sea, the relaxed life style!
What do you hate about Malta?
The small-minded island mentality.
Favourite colour and what it means to you?
Aqua! A favourite of mine since childhood! it features in my choice of home decor, my paintings and also the jewellery I have a passion for.
What is your favourite indulgence?
Pastizzi tar-rikotta with sugar…
Paula has a pedigree in TV and stage production (children's and family entertainment) and a passion for the arts. She's taken the reins on The Artists' Directory - Malta and the relevant content for the site.