In our second interview with London based artist Johanna Tagada we find out more about her positive and collaborative project Poetic Pastel.

Encompassing publishing, textiles, art and events, Poetic Pastel is a quiet revolution and an extension of Johanna's personal art practice. Underpinned by her values, the project has become a platform for expressing a way of living that embraces nature and the everyday, and inspires others in the process.

How did the project come about? What was your intention and motivation?

Joanna: It started from a need. A one to, for practical reasons, put a name both on my self-published works, which I have been conducting since 2012 (now referred to as Poetic Pastel Press), and on my collaborative activities.

Poetic Pastel started from collaborations with my husband, artist & musician Jatinder Singh Durhailay and art historian & curator Celina Basra. In 2014, they both approved the idea, 'yes, it sounds good'. With their help, the project was defined, a few months later the website created. I am happy to have trusted both them and myself.

My intentions were to give a voice to a certain way of thinking, of living, one more delicate, more gentle, yet quite rebellious taking into consideration the consumerist society in which we live. Reminding us that soft is not necessarily the antonym of strong. 

Various publications on slow living developed over the past years all over the world, which shows an interest for such practices. These titles, among other reasons, encouraged me to believe it was right to, through this project, speak out. Being able to work with friends and people I admire was also a great motivation.

On your website the project is described as ‘positive and collaborative’. Is the role art for you about promoting a certain perspective and way of being?

I would not go as far as saying the role of art in general, as this is personal to each artist. It is however a strong aspect of my practice and further more of Poetic Pastel, that to encourage lifestyles more in tune with nature and respectful of all lives, human and others. Constructive and positive endeavours. Poetic Pastel certainly has a holistic approach, this direction also support the choice of not focusing singularly on one medium and activity.

Artists, designers, makers, writer, tea brewers, galleries, institutions, all the people part of these projects do not necessarily share the same ideals and lifestyles, the common denominators are an enthusiastic belief and active will to make this world and our societies better via the soft and delicates whispers that are the Poetic Pastel projects. On our launches, we for example made a significant choice, the foods and drinks we offer are vegan + organic and it is tea that is served (with the support of My Cup of Tea and Kiyora Tea).

I would define the project by the three followings verbs LEARNING, since we all learn from each other, we are all teachers and students, PLAYING and SHARING. All these support certain esthetics and way of producing too

What are your key influences for this project?

Nature. Kindness. Togetherness. Mindfulness.


What are your plans for Poetic Pastel into the future? How does it complement your art practice?

Though some ideas and projects are already in place, an important component is not to plan too much. Rather let it grow, develop naturally and spontaneously, as life is.

Last May, wonderful Naoi Magaki joined me to organise the Poetic Pastel activities + projects. With enthusiasm, it is together and drinking tea, eating cherries and mandarines that we wrote the SUMMER LIST.

In March 2017, on invitation of Nidi Gallery (Tokyo) the first PP exhibition will take place in Japan. Titled Inaka no Hana (rural flowers), the second part of Douceurs de l'impercetible, an exhibition which took place at Tender Books (London) in January 2015, presenting works by Jatinder Singh Durhailay, Rie Yamada, Toshimitsu Kokido, Tomoya Kato, Ruby Woodhouse, Tilmann S. Wendelstein ­ The Simple Society and myself

Currently we are presenting POETIC PASTEL: Un Été (a summer) at Momosan Shop (London), including among others, a collaboration with French potter Laurence Labbé.

Poetic Pastel complements my own artist practice by giving more depth to my thoughts, it allows me to learn, think further, to have a time with wonderful people, time which contrasts beautifully with the alone time I spend when creating my art.

Thanks to Johanna and Poetic Pastel.

For those in or visiting London, Poetic Pastel is currently exhibiting at Momosan Shop until August 11th.
July 21st - August 11th 
79a Wilton Way
London E8 1BS
Thursday to Sunday 11am - 6pm


For more see:

Poetic Pastel website / Soundcloud

As well as as our previous feature on Johanna

Johanna Tagada's website / Bonjour Johanna / Bonjour Supermarket

All photos by POETIC PASTEL (Johanna Tagada / Naoi Magaki) and Claire Cottrell