1)First of all,can you present yourself..?
1)Sure, my name is Colin Johnson and I’ve worked as freelance illustrator and gallery artist since 1995. I currently live and work in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA where I share a condo with my dog Boo.
2)Do you think of yourself as an artist,or what?
2)That seems to be the title given to myself and others who do what I do but that ultimatejudgment might be one best left to the general viewing audience. I believe an artist is anindividual who communicates with a certain audience in a visual and conceptual way. Hopefully my work accomplishes that goal on some level for people viewing my pieces.
3)What is creativity?
3)I believe that it’s the ability to combine relatively mundane ideas in new and exciting ways thus creating a new language for communicating with the world at large. At least that’s what I attempt to achieve with my work as best I can.
4)Does your environment influence your art,either in style/format or interference?
4)In terms of environment my work currently deals with the concept(s) of man vs. nature so in an almost direct way my work deals with aspects of the natural environment. Sometimes my personal environment interferes with my work in the sense that I can often spend way too much time on the computer each day answering e-mails and generally wasting time surfing around or trying to upload new work and information to my various art related sites. This can be a bit frustrating since it keeps me from my work and makes me feel very unproductive.
5)What are some of your influences and inspirations?
5)Too many to name here but currently I’m trying not to look at any other modern artists which is hard to do. I’m attempting to draw a great amount of my current influence directly from the natural world as well as nature books and diagrams, and ancient art of India, Tibet, and Mexico to name a few.
6)What's your favorite mediums(pen,charcoal,paint,canvas,etc.)to work in/on?
6)Acrylic paint on wood.
7)Who are some of your favorite painters/artists?
7)Again, too many people to really name and without compiling a grocery list of current artists (alot of which can be checked out in the “links” section of my web-site!) I would say some long time and current faves are: Hieronymous Bosch, Charles Schultz, Elizabeth Scott (a fantastic Baltimore based quilt maker!), Dr. Seuss, Pieter Bruegel, William Henry Johnson, and a whole host of unknown ancient Asian artists and symbolists.
8)How long does it normally take you to complete a piece of your artwork?
8)It depends on size and complexity or the work. A really large and complex piece could take me a month. Smaller simpler pieces may be completed in 5 or 6 hours.
9)What else are you interested in besides visual arts?
9)Oh, many things: Music, Movies (guess that’s visual art), History, Thrift Store shopping, Tai Chi, Truck Driving, Building Quonset Huts, Playing the Concertina, Trout Fishing, Filial Piety, Wearing Derby Hats. Well, o.k. ...... maybe not the last 6 things.
10)Got any new projects planned?
10)Yes, I have several upcoming shows:- RENOWNED GALLERY, PORTLAND, OR, “IT’S ALL WOOD” Group Show curated by Ryan Bubnis, Coming October 2006. http://www.renownedgallery.com/- DvA GALLERY, CHICAGO, IL, “WILD WILD MIDWEST” 4 Person show curated by Colin Johnson including: Chris Ryniak, Mike Burnett, Jeremiah Ketner, Colin Johnson, Coming November 2006. http://www.dvagallery.com/- FEINKUNST KRUGER GALLERY, HAMBURG, GERMANY, “DON’T WAKE DADDY” Group Show curated by Heiko Muller, Coming November 2006
11)How would you describe your art to someone who could not see it?
11)Hard to do. But I would say it’s in the Pop Art/Modern Surrealism vein. I use a combination of characters and forms in my paintings which are both flatly rendered and realistically rendered along with combination of collaged elements. I don’t think that explanation does justice to seeing the work though and i’m not sure that any artist could describe in words the type of work that they do where you would get a really good visual sense in your head.
12)What other talent would most like to have?
12)A knack for making money so i didn't always have to work so hard to pay the bills! And flying!! And it would me nice to have a couple of extra arms to make the painting go faster!!!
13)What are your most beloved items?
13)Really tough to say. I find that i’ve become less attached to the personal items that I own as i’ve grown older and as such I have a very tough time answering this question. Simple answer, my electric toothbrush. It rocks!
14)1. Harold and the Purple Crayon - Crockett Johnson (no relation to me but a genius just the same!)2. Holiday Memory - Dylan Thomas3. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland & Through The Looking-Glass - Lewis Carroll4. The Tao of Pooh - Benjamin Hoff5. The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger6. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery7. A Coney Island of the Mind - Lawrence Ferlinghetti8. Old Possums Book of Practical Cats - T.S. Eliot9. The Gashlycrumb Tinies - Edward GoreyCurrent Favs:1. Charles Bukowski Selected Letters - Volume 1: 1958-19652. Everything That Rises Must Converge - Flannery O’Connor3. American Gods - Neil Gaiman4. Fortunes’ Bastard - Robert Chalmers5. Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates - Tom Robbins
15)Do you remember the first drawing you made?
15)Honestly, I don’t. But it was probably in school while i was supposed to be paying attention to a History lesson or something!
16)What kind of music do you like and do you listen.And is the music important for your art.?
16)Music is very important to me and I listen to alot of music while i’m working but I don’t know if has any direct importance for my artwork besides getting me through the work day in a more energetic and enjoyable way. I listen to everything, and again, there are too many people to really name but a few current faves are: Enon, Laika, Boards of Canada, Etta James, Figurine, Stereolab, Howlin’ Wolf, Ilyah Kuryahkin, Doc Watson, The Books, Can, Captain Beefheart, The Fall, Daft Punk, Freakwater, Fats Domino, Jonathan Richman, Hobart Smith, Johnny Horton, Neko Case, Mano Negra
17)Any advice do you have for artists?
17)Just to work really hard and always maintain a disciplined work ethic. And study the masters of the art world. They are know as “Masters” for a reason. They are the best school or art that you could ever possibly attend and all you have to do is sign out some books at your local library.