Inside with the outsider John Kenn Mortensen

Featured in: Issue Nº 3

Category: Interview


All work photos courtesy of the John Kenn Mortensen corporation.

THE DOODLE-LIKE quality of Danish John Kenn Mortensen’s monster-drawings caught our eye, so we paid him a visit in his flat in the southern area of Copenhagen.

The hung over artist greets us with a big beard, very small eyes and a mild giggle.

By: Erik Duckert
Photos by: Martin Kurt Haglund

Door Phone: “Who?! – shit, that’s right … come in, come in.”

Opens, closes, collapses.

John Kenn Mortensen (b. 1978) has a vast experience within comics, TV–production, filmmaking and doodling.

He breathes heavily, gets up.

MORTENSEN: “Coffee!”

M: “My Work is kind of a salute to the misfits of the world.”


M: “I feel like a misfit on the Danish art scene myself; there is a certain ‘jargon’ and code of conduct that I don’t really fit into.”

M: “Guess you could describe my work as low-brow art, if you’re into categories.

But in Denmark low-brow doesn’t really exist as a mainstream genre …


I don’t think they qualify as ‘illustrations’, I mean, illustrations illustrate something: a storyline or some sort of temporal process, whereas what I do are singular pieces, so it falls between categories

– a misfit in the true sense of the word.”

Yawns and inspects his empty coffee mug.

M: “It was like that in school as well actually: if you don’t fit in you end up with all the other misfits

and that’s actually pretty cool

– then you get to make up your own rules within the various groups of oddballs.”

M: “It’s not like I was a criminal or anything like that. I just doodled and listened to heavy metal instead of playing soccer – instant outcast.”

John Kenn’s high pitched voice curls into laughter.

M: “Nowadays you have various diagnoses for that kind of behaviour like Asperger, ADD and crap like that – it’s all just an excuse to say ‘he’s not like us’.”

M: “I don’t have a clear intent for each and every drawing. But, hey, I hope the lonely and unadapted can see something in the stuff I do – I mean the best thing for a comedian must be if someone to actually laughed them selves to death.”

For more art work, info and a trip to the bookshop visit John Kenn Mortensen’s website here