ARTIST SPOTLIGHT #9: LEE JOHNSON

artist spotlight Apr 08, 2016

 

 

 “I open this with the following viewpoint from legendary comic artist and illustrator, Jean Giraud Moebius, "When you draw, you must first cleanse yourself of deep feelings, like hate, happiness, ambition, etc".  Although I find that I myself cannot exorcise such feelings before I begin an art piece, I find that the creation of my art is the exorcism process. Born with Asperger's Syndrome, I have always had difficulty with some social situations, mostly in the form of seeing wholes other than parts and focusing so much that others are ignored.  Reclusive shyness and stuttering has not helped in that regard, however I do not let such factors get in the way of my art. One might think that my shyness and stuttering would make studio critiques of my art really difficult.  Critiques can indeed be difficult but they have sort of helped me with my shyness a little bit.  I believe that both good and bad critiques show my strengths and weaknesses. They give me examples of how to improve my art. For instance, while I was at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, one suggestion that my teachers gave me in order to help me to understand how light and shadows play off each other and to add depth to fantasy creatures was made to actually make sculptures of the fantasy characters before making paintings of them.  I did that and it helped me to understand light a little bit better.  Critiques can also prevent me and all artists from building bubbles around ourselves.  The bubbles of delusions of grandeur emerge when you think it is easy to be an artist. 

My views on society, psychology, stories, optical Illusions, and dark subject matters have helped my art grow and my style to fully become my own.  Quite a lot of the time I do not look at art the way most artists do, that is see everything with a child-like delight with everything they encounter in life.  Instead, a lot of the time I look at the world with a somewhat pessimistic viewpoint and I feel that it helps me to look past the veil of a permanent smile that the world seems so desperate to wear all the time. This juxtaposition of desperation mixed with the faint glimmer of hope often finds its way into my works of art, albeit not in the most open of means. By looking at these shadows I feel that I gain a greater knowledge of the world as well as the understanding that is necessary to properly showcase such themes through my art.

 

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Paint on!

 

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