While I am primarily a professional acrylic painter, like most artists I have a variety of medias I like to explore. So the My Medias blog series will be about each of bodies of work I create, so this one will be about how I came to be a painter!
Most of my painting training has been self taught. I took a few courses in high school and did a variety of 2D techniques. In one of my 2D classes, I self taught myself how to oil paint. One of my favorite pieces is a self-portrait in oil. This is my first and only oil painting, but I do hope to try to work with it in the future. I absolutely love this image of me. It demonstrates my quirkiness, festive swimsuit and me manhandling a frog. I’m sure my three year old self scared that frog to death too!
Untitled (Self Portrait)
During my undergrad believe it or not, I chose to focus on life drawing. I only took one painting class in college and I absolutely hated it and by that I mean dreaded going to class and would of preferred lecture. I was inspired by Stella Im Hultberg and Jenny Saville with some early painting work.
In the manner of Stella Im Hultberg’s work. Check out her art here
A personal rendition and copy of Jenny Savilles work, painted by me. Check out her work here
My recent body of work has been these large scale graphic acrylic pieces which focus on storytelling and character development. I have always wanted to be a writer. My first book was in Kindergarten and was about a pet bunny I lost while blueberry picking in the woods. Maybe something to share or blog about in the future! Anyways, this passion for writing and telling stories is very apparent in this body of work.
Storms Make Rainbows 1 and 2
My pieces are created with a childlike sophistication and all have quirky, witty, funny, and sarcastic titles. The works are companion to the titles and vice versa. I often hear that the pieces don’t make sense with out the title, a criticism I heard just this past month during the Featured Artist Contest review….EXACTLY! That’s the point, and that’s my goal.
You’re not going to understand the character, its personality, or what it wants or is doing without the title because my work is an exploration of both visual and written creativity. Sometimes the title comes before the piece or the piece before the title. But the title is as important as the piece itself!
Suction Cup Me Baby!
The first two pieces were Suction Cup Me Baby! and Giggle My Gelly! These were made during finals week in college, when I didn’t feel like working on my final for painting class. I had this elaborate self portrait installation piece in mind and after beginning the piece, the tool of the canvas and the uncontrolled brush look disenchanted me. I gave up. Friends were worried about what I was going to do for my final, days and even hours before. I wasn’t, I hauled in these two paintings into class and used them as my makeshift final piece and have worked with this series ever since.
It Makes Them Taste Better
Bad Disney Princess Series
I began this body of work December 2008 and since then I have been exploring characters and building the portfolio I have now. I have recently created enough work to have a variety of themes in this body: animals, food, objects, people, games and toys, and clouds and weather. Eventually, I would like to turn this body into more design orientated objects such as making prints, creating fabric, or jewelry out of my work. I would also like to show every piece in a retrospective exhibition.
Littly Tikes Series: Never Trust the Ginger (1 of 4)
So what is this exactly? It took two years of searching to find an answer. One day while at work at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, I opened a book about contemporary art and found a section on Lowbrow and Character art. Lowbrow art is a recent art movement beginning in California during the seventies, and now a copyrighted term first mentioned in Juxtapose Art magazine in 1994. It’s slowly gaining momentum as a movement, although many museums and academic institution don’t recognize it as such.
We Charge Extra For Black Ink
Here’s some basic facts:
It’s usually paintings and has a sense of humor to the works whether it’s happy or more sarcastic humor. (Check!)
- Many of the artists are self taught and have a figurative focus to the works they make. (I’m a self taught painter, and love figure art and creating characters…so check!)
- Artists know the technical rules of art, but tend to not follow them. (Overly expensive 4 year art degree…check!)
- This form of art picks up influences from Japanese anime, cartoons, and other sub cultural themes and was born out of street culture or underground art. (Interest in those topics…check!)
- Is it weird to define what your art is?…. maybe. I think a lot of artists want their art to speak for itself, but I find that ineffective. I want to know what I create so I can talk about it when people ask me! The unique aspect is that I began to create and build this portfolio before I knew any of the details or characteristics of the movement!
Bitch I’m a Unicorn (I Am Not A Pony!)
Have more questions about what or why I am creating what I do? Interested in a commission? Leave a comment, and check out my art on my website at www.katerjohnson.com