Very honored to have created the album cover art for my super talented musician friend Ben Meyers new release “Daylight Moon.”
Stephen’s contribution to Wonder Fair Gallery’s exhibit “Hott Sheets II”
June 28th - July 21st, 2013 http://www.wonderfair.com/
A lovely article about me in the current issue of Lawrence Magazine (pages 38-40)
Concept summary: Love Field, symbolized as a heart from which Pegasus, the symbol of Dallas emerges and subsequently ascends to flight above the lone star of Texas.
Material: 35 art glass panels, 18 x 18 each
Commissioned by the City of Dallas and Southwest Airlines.
Installation fall 2014
“The Case of the Short-fingered Musketeer” by Russ Hodge is his latest non-fiction popular science book. The book recounts a 20-year scientific investigation into a family of Turkish farmers on the coast of the Black Sea who have a genetic condition that gives them a short stature and very short fingers and toes, along with astronomically high blood pressure. Their condition has eluded explanation until now, despite the best efforts of a team of researchers over two decades; they have thrown virtually every new technology and concept from biology at the problem, which makes the story a great parable for modern biomedical research.
Published by the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
One Museum Drive, Montgomery, Alabama 36117
October 6, 2012 through January 13, 2013
The exhibition Accumulations: The Art of Joelle Ford and Stephen T. Johnson brings together two Kansas-based artists who playfully transform mundane materials into witty assemblages.
Stephen T. Johnson looks to everyday items, yet instead of abstracting the objects he celebrates their uniqueness. The pieces featured in the exhibition correspond to his book, A is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet. For this series, Johnson composed playful alliterative phrases that form a portrait of both an everyday object and they way he depicts it. Prior to making these works Johnson poured over the English dictionary, selecting and grouping words to represent each letter from the alphabet. The phrases provide both visual cues and structure for the piece resulting in highly inventive works of art. In addition, furthering the idea of fun and games, Johnson invites the viewer to look deeper into the work and find the letter hidden within.
March 9 - June 2, 2012
Weinberger Fine Art
1800 Baltimore, Kansas City, MO 64108
(913) 940-0104 http://kimweinberger.com/artists/stephen-t-johnson/abstractions-press-release/
March 3 – April 28, 2012
Kansas City Public Library - 14 West 10th Street, Kansas City, MO
Art, Language & Play features original art work by Stephen T. Johnson, an author and illustrator of children’s books who has been nationally published and exhibited. Johnson’s art forges connections between words, objects, and ideas.
Limited edition of 50, hand-signed and numbered, Ultrachrome, pigment-based inks on archival quality stock. 12 1/4 x 49 inches (image area)
$1,500 (framed regional area only)
The composition Rhythmic Transformations represents the life-cycle of entrepreneurship and innovation:
1) Spark of an idea (lights)
2) Struggle and finding the right direction (highways, questions, etc.)
3) Scale, motion, forward momentum (gears, conduits, waves, growth curve)
4) Success (spotlights, stars)
5) Experience and wisdom (cross section of wood)
6) Start again (light, seed)
This original composition was created for Pipeline (the nation’s premier technology entrepreneur fellowship program) in conjunction with entrepreneurs Tim Lockyear of Beloit Solutions Group and 2012 Innovator of the year Kyle Johnson of Audio Anywhere.
Pipeline video with Stephen T. Johnson http://vimeo.com/35972995
My video trailer for my book “My Little Pink Princess Purse” on youtube!
435 South Magazine, July, 2011 issue
It’s a word that rings in your head once you meet area artist Stephen T. Johnson and encounter the work that’s made him nationally known. In just the last few decades, Johnson has garnered more accolades working in more mediums than many artists touch in a lifetime. He’s got more energy, more ideas and more projects-in-process than his two-story studio warehouse in Lawrence can hold. And while he’s gotten plenty of awards and commissions to show for it all, Johnson is also more humble than you might imagine.
“I’m always trying to learn more,” says the self-deprecating Johnson, who on this day is in his studio happily brainstorming ideas for potential commissioned work on a tunnel in one of the nation’s busiest airports. “I’ve got four or five ideas that I’m really excited about,” he explains. “One involves using glass. As you walk through the tunnel, the glass pieces tell the city’s history by transforming and moving with you.” Never mind that Johnson has only more recently begun experimenting with glass; chances are, he’ll master glass in the same way he’s mastered a host of other mediums. Pastels, watercolors, gouache, oils, mosaics, metals, textiles, glass, found objects, photography, digital media and even the written word are all part of Johnson’s shockingly versatile repertoire that showcase his boundless curiosity and finely-tuned skills. And while his talents were evident from an early age, the artist’s mediums for expression have evolved over time. “I always liked to draw,” admits Johnson, who gives much of the credit for his skill to an artistic father and a grandfather whose two portrait drawings currently reside in the Art Institute of Chicago.
Genetics aside, it’s Johnson’s own elbow grease that has earned him a coveted spot on the national art scene. Before he even graduated in Fine Arts from the University of Kansas, he was illustrating a Kansas City Star Magazine cover. Within months of moving to New York City to attend The Cooper Union, his work captured not only the cover of Forbes but also three covers of Time magazine. From there his art career mushroomed, as did his mediums.
In addition to a mix of media, Johnson’s aesthetic is characterized by bold colors that inform unexpected juxtapositions and invite delightful re-imaginings. The son of two French professors, a bilingual Johnson spent several school-age years in France, where he came to love the bright colors of early Napoleonic heraldry and admire the skill of 19th-century French Romantic painters.
Among his public art works are two rich, colorful life-size mural-mosaics commissioned for subway stations in Brooklyn and Los Angeles. Each simultaneously delights the senses and informs the mind. In addition to a depiction of the Brooklyn Bridge, Johnson’s multi-layered Brooklyn piece features a primary-colored king of clubs playing card and floating numbers 718, denoting King County and Brooklyn’s area code respectively. Along with the lights of the Hollywood hills, Johnson’s Disney-colored Los Angeles mural includes both French fries and caviar, two disparate elements that give a nod to the city’s low and highbrow underpinnings. Also apparent in the artist’s portfolio is a love of language. Both the sights and sounds of letters and numbers inform his aesthetic and also have provided inspiration for the work he’s perhaps most proud of: his books.
While Johnson has illustrated many books during his career, his first solo publication, Alphabet City, met with instant success. Winning a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year Award and Caldecott Honors, the book features finer-than-photographic illustrations of letters “found” on the streets of NYC: an “A” at the end of a sawhorse, a “G” in a lamppost’s curving iron. Loved by children and art critics alike, Alphabet City was featured page-by-page on “Good Morning America.” Its companion volume, City By Numbers, garnered similar acclaim.
Since moving back to Kansas in 2000 to raise two daughters, Johnson has continued to write and design books that make art a multisensory experience for both kids and adults. After his do-it-yourself tactile adventure for kids titled My Little Red Toolbox became a Publisher’s Weekly bestseller, Johnson followed up with My Little Blue Robot. Featured in Newsweek, the book comes to life as it converts into a real moving, talking robot. Recently he created My Little Pink Princess Purse, a tastefully pink and pretty hands-on volume that empowers young girls to love themselves just as they are. Accomplished as he is, the multi-faceted Johnson doesn’t belabor the point of his paintings, collages, sculptures or books. “Art doesn’t have to have a heavy message,” he asserts quietly, noting that the lighter, transformative works he chooses to create can be more challenging to execute than their weightier counterparts. Two of his museum pieces illustrate the point: one features fake French fries strewn across acrylic, another is comprised of brightly wrapped kids’ candies encircled in Plexiglas. “I’m just happy when I can inspire people to look at their surroundings in a fresh and playful way,” Johnson says.
Indeed people are continuing to be inspired by Johnson’s fresh and playful offerings found in museums, public installments, private collections and on bookshelves across the country. Singer-songwriter Paul Simon purchased one of his creations, and George Lucas recently commissioned him to create a piece for a Star Wars commemorative book. But Johnson, as unassuming as he is talented, is still happy to surprise and delight anyone and everyone who’s interested in seeing more of what art can do. Because for Johnson, there’s always more. “I’m humbled by the great works of art in the world,” he says, “but what has already been said isn’t enough.”
words: Cisley Thummel
A Gift Book of magical wonders!
An Interactive Toy with counting, colors and shapes!
A Dress up Fantasy of royal proportions!
An Empowering and Beautiful Message for girls everywhere!
My Little Pink Princess Purse, Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Barnes & Nobles http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/product.aspx?r=1&itm=1&z=y&EAN=9781416979791
Powell’s Bookstore http://www.powells.com/biblio?isbn=1416979794#
Simon & Schuster http://books.simonandschuster.com/My-Little-Pink-Princess-Purse/Stephen-T-Johnson/9781416979791/graphic_excerpt
June 19th - September 19th, 2010
Mulvane Art Museum, 17th and Jewell, Topeka, KS (785) 670-1124
Mezzanine level, Universal City Metro Station, Los Angeles, California.
This is the central North Hollywood Metro destination serving Universal City Studios, CityWalk, corporate offices, businesses and the future site of NBC Universal Operations.