Danish Artist Spotlight: John Kenn Mortensen

Imagine a bleak and cold autumn evening, the sun making its sleepy way toward the horizon. It’s the beginning of winter – after gathering enough firewood from the forest, you make your way back to your cottage a bit of a ways from where you are. The fresh-lain snow and twigs crunch underfoot. Strange, you seem to have not noticed when the  shadows seem to have grown longer and deeper, and the air chillier. The crunching sounds louder now, and you think perhaps it’s just the cold that’s making the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. You try to shake of the feeling as you keep walking, walking, walking, ignoring the blinking lights peering at you from behind the trees, the thinly-veiled susurrus of whispers in the wind. Firewood on your back and the patter of unearthly feet behind you, a hill of dark brown fur smiles at you with rows of razor-sharp teeth. Your fire finally crackles merrily on your hearth, and the hollow-eyed ghost children watch you in amusement from the outside. A pair of pointed ears and eyes peer at you from the chimney flue, grinning its sharp, toothsome grin as you nod off to sleep.

Such are the worlds that John Kenn Mortensen illustrates on the pale yellow plane of his post-it notes.

John Kenn Mortensen, or Don Kenn as he is sometimes called, is a creator and director of children’s shows in Denmark, and sometimes makes illustrations on post-it notes. In his works, grim ghoulies, towering beasties and other such monstrosities bicker, squirm, observe, and sometimes follow children home. Altogether fascinating, eyebrow-raising, and sometimes downright scary, Mortensen’s monsters are not menacing in the slightest, and readers are drawn in to create stories around the scene.

John Kenn Mortensen has recently released two collated volumes of his work as books, which may be purchased online and in certain bookshops.  


Image Source: Don Kenn Gallery


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