Johan Gabrielsson

“Everyone I talk to are very jealous when they hear that I am in Gran Canaria.”
Johan Gabrielsson is a Swedish FX artist, currently working form Gran Canaria for the Stockholm-based digital animation studio Important Looking Pirates. He shares life on the island with his girlfriend and has worked in Australia and the United Kingdom. This is the first time he works remotely and recommends the experience to all his friends and acquaintances, as he and his girlfriend are really enjoying it.

Tell me your story, where are you from? What do you? And how did you get to Gran Canaria?

I live in Stockholm, which is the capital of Sweden. For a living, I work on visual effects, which I’ve done for the last 16 years. It involves creating effects that can’t be filmed for movies and tv-series. It can range from cute furry creatures to blood and gore.

Why did you take the leap to come to Gran Canaria?

I was curious about Gran Canaria, it sounded like an interesting and warm place, especially when you come from the Swedish winter. I had talked to a few friends who had been here, and they recommended it. Another important thing to me was that the internet connection was fast and had a very stable connection to Sweden.

Did you find any hindrances when coming?

“Coworking is really interesting. It’s like having your colleagues around, but you don’t talk shop.”

How did you find your accommodation and your place of work?

We looked around at several places online before we finally found a nice place in Vegueta on Airbnb. Early on we decided that we would like to work in a coworking space, and after contacting several we decided to go for Hashtag Workspace. My experience there has been great!

How is your life on the island? How long have you been here and how long are you going to stay?

Everything I have experienced here has been way over my expectations. I think Las Palmas has a lot to offer, with a lot of interesting and different neighborhoods. There are a lot of nice restaurants and great food. Everything is also really well priced, especially in comparison to Sweden. Another thing we have been doing is hiring a car or a motorbike and exploring the island’s winding roads. That has been amazing, stumbling upon small cozy villages scattered around the island and admiring nature. Feels like there is always something to do here so you don’t get bored.

We got here in early February and we are leaving in mid-April. I would definitely like to stay longer.

What do you value most about your life here?

The thing I value the most here are the people I have met throughout my stay. Everyone has been really friendly and open!

Do you relate to the community?

We have been hanging out with a few locals that have been showing us around and giving us loads of recommendations of things to see and do. 

What has teleworking meant in your life? Positive and negative aspects

I think it has been only positive. I didn’t think it was possible to do this in our line of work, but it works perfectly so I’m very happy that I’ve discovered this. I love traveling, so being able to do this without going on vacation is amazing. Just being here, doing everyday things is something I really enjoy too, like going grocery shopping, seeing a bunch of stuff we don’t have in Sweden. I think working at a coworking place is quite interesting as well, it’s almost like having colleagues but you don’t talk shop with them.
“Here you can have a better quality of life, and better working conditions at the same time”.

Is the community of teleworkers that has been created on the Island important to you?

Yes, especially for making it easy to get in contact with other people.

When you talk to people from outside the island, what do you tell them about Gran Canaria? 

Everyone I talk to is very jealous when they hear that I’m in Gran Canaria. People are very keen on doing the same thing.

What do you think profiles like yours bring to our destination?

I will be sharing what I’ve experienced here in Gran Canaria with friends and people I meet. People I’ve talked to so far have been very keen on doing the same and most of them didn’t even think this was possible.

What would you say to another professional who wants to telecommute? What if I wanted to do it from Gran Canaria?

Just do it, it’s great!