Meet the Artist: Stephanie Johanesen Blends Many Art Forms
By Amber Ford
Longtime resident of the Mt. Hood Villages, artist Stephanie Johanesen uses the many beautiful wonders of the mountain to create various unique forms of art as a means of release and entertainment. Johanesen, whose creative activities include writing, illustrations and creating miniature dollhouses, has lived on the mountain since 2004. “As someone who’s lived with ADHD my whole life, I tend to drift from art to art,” Johanesen said. While her diagnosis has helped her achieve a variety of experiences in different art forms, Johanesen has remained loyal to those three specific types. “I often bleed those art forms together,” Johanesen said, “telling stories with my minis and drawings and using those to inspire more books.”
Self-taught in most areas of her creative work, Johanesen completed creative writing classes as part of the foundation to her craft. “I was known for my drawings in school and I had a really creative teacher in fifth grade who sparked my love for writing and illustrating,” Johanesen said. “These have remained with me since,” she added. Although Johanesen has a deep-rooted connection and passion for her three beloved art forms, she admits that one of them seems to be her favorite. “Writing has always been my go-to for creative expression,” Johanesen said. “Illustration is really fun for me too, and I think I derive the most joy from creating whimsical miniatures that tell their own stories,” Johanesen added.
While Johanesen enjoys creating the environment and detail for her miniatures, she does have a specific vision when she begins the creative construction process. “I don’t do simple tiny magazine-like room scenes,” Johanesen said. “My cabinets are curved and quirky. My dollhouses are inhabited by sorceresses and little chipmunks in regency gowns. There are pastoral scenes of Oregon decorating the walls and the railings are made with twigs that I collect from my yard,” she added.
As with many other artists who find relief and creative escape in their work, Johanesen acknowledges how important and consistent this outlet has been throughout her life. “Art is the foundation of my identity,” Johanesen said. “It has helped me cope and escape through a tough childhood and has carried me through many thankless, mind-numbing jobs for many years,” she added. Crediting her creative abilities as “life saving,” Johanesen sees her work as not just a means of expression, but a means of sanity. “Artistic expression, in whatever form I tend to be hyper-fixating on at any given time, is critical for my personal wellbeing,” Johanesen said.
For anyone interested in Johanesen’s work please visit Feffie’s Cottage on TikTok, Instagram and Youtube or visit Coffee House 26 for her novel purchases.