Style & Social Media with Body Positive Illustrator Jovanna Radic Eriksson

Illustrator Jovanna Radic Eriksson knows what she's about. As a body positive illustrator and communicator, her artwork portrays women authentically and unapologetically. Jovanna's colorful Instagram page pairs honest captions with stunning visuals to highlight the many nuances of femininity. Editor Olivia Ferrucci discussed the cruciality of style and social media with Jovanna for our January issue.

Lithium: Your artwork directly focuses on representing all body types- is this something you have always done through your illustration or did a specific event spark it?
Jovanna: I started to illustrate during March this year, so I haven't been doing it for a long time. But since I've always fought for women's right to be who they are, it came naturally to me. I also followed a lot of body positive women on Instagram and I've always admired their posts.

Lithium: What motivates you to create?
Jovanna: The response on Instagram, for sure. Also, the peace I feel every time I draw. It's like therapy for me in so many ways. I've gotten to know my own body and actually accept it. By drawing other women's bodies, your eye becomes used to seeing them. It's important to accept and get used to your body. The response on Instagram is wonderful. Look at you, for example, who found me there. I've gotten to know so many friends! 

Lithium: How has social media affected your work and self-perception?
Jovanna: It has given me the chance to work as an illustrator in the future. I've only drawn this year, and I've already been asked to do custom work.

Lithium: What has been the general response to your style of illustrating- in particular, catering to a more diverse range of body types? 
Jovanna: Only positive. Women have even told me that I've both helped and inspired them. 

Lithium: Before creating your Instagram, did you feel that there was a gap in your field focusing on body positivity?
Jovanna: Actually, no. It came naturally to me. I thought that no one would be interested in me due to all the body positive accounts that already existed. But I think that my combination of illustrations, selfies, and personal texts interest people. I'm just a part of the body positive crowd like everyone else. The more the merrier!

Lithium: What is the most powerful feedback you have ever received on a piece?
Jovanna: Oh, that's a hard question to answer. I would say that when I had an exhibition in Gothenburg, many people told the owner of the café that it was so refreshing to see body positive art. It almost made me so surprised how happy they were to see bodies that looked like theirs. The women who have written to me on Instagram telling me how my work has affected them also means a lot to me. I would say that the main thing that affects me is how we all come together.

Lithium: How would you describe the correlation between body image and mental health?
Jovanna: It's not normal or good to be thinking about your body all the time. It takes a lot of energy to dislike yourself. And when you feel great inside and stop focusing on the outside, you can feel so much better. To constantly think about losing weight is dangerous for your mental health. To hate yourself is also extremely dangerous- I know exactly how depressed I can be. Everyone should accept their body. 

Lithium: What kind of energy do you strive to achieve through your work? Has this changed since you began illustrating?
Joanna: Self-acceptance and welcoming all kind of feelings. Now, my energy is much more neutral than anxious. It's important for me to have a platform where I can feel safe whether I'm happy, sad, or angry. 

Lithium: What is the ultimate goal of your work?
Jovanna: My ultimate goal is to use my illustrations to make people accept themselves and make them feel that they are a part of a safe community. Hating your body is the worst thing you can do for your health. You don't have to love it, but you should accept it so that you can focus on the things you love to do. 

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