You are here

ADVANCING THE ARTS ACROSS MARYLAND

Brook Johnson

Brook Johnson

Artist Work

"Inner Highway"
2015
collage
8x10"

Artist Information

County
Carroll County
Artistic Category

Media Arts

Artist Statement

I hand-cut and paste all of my collages; never do I use any technology greater than this. By doing so, I am forced to work within very set limits, unable to change sizes, reproduce objects, adjust color, tweak perspective, and other minor and major manipulations so readily available to the computer artist or painter. I must find a solution to the disparate images and stubbornly un-manipulative photographs by creating relationships of color, lighting and subject among the various pieces I have chosen to work with. I come upon such solutions without thinking. It is the collective unconscious I summon and the entire process is completely intuitive. I do not think of anything while creating my art; I let the images guide me, pull me, even dictate to me where they go and should best belong. Through this, stories are revealed, dreams, memories and reflections had and un-had are birthed in a sticky and imperfect manner. It is a creation begging to live, desperate to tell its story and I merely come across it while abstractly browsing the contents of my hopelessly Jungian self. Some consider my art non-art, and the reason is that they believe I merely cut and paste and that anyone can do it. They do not understand the process, the frustrations inherent to my technique, and the exceeding complication of finding a cohesive result from hundreds and hundreds of laid-out images. I pile the floor with ripped-out magazine and book pages, semi-frantically listening to the visual call of that next piece. I draw particularly on my knowledge of music and literature, both of which provide the structure for my work and help foster a sort of lyricism necessary to the harshness of the deconstructed images. Others express concern over copyright or lack of integrity in appropriations. My work is not copyright infringement, as I remove the subjects I need from their original presentation and reconstruct them in a new context, with a new role. I could draw or paint, but I don’t have the time I feel. There is a sense of urgency I have when making my art and having ready-mades at my fingertips makes the expressive process go much more smoothly. It is similar to photography in the vein that I eye something useful, something beautiful, something striking or odd and immediately appropriate it with my scissors (as opposed to with a camera). What it becomes is always drastically different than from whence it came. My art is an experiment. I never know nor premeditate what is to come; I know only to trust in the literal thought-lessness of my method, waiting on something that is beyond my immediate sense of knowledge to come to fruition. It is exciting, rewarding, and frightening at the same time. Even so, each piece is of me and hopefully, of the viewer, as the contents spill forth into analysis, unveiling the common and collective in us all.

Artist Bio

Brook began her art training as a young teen, receiving private fine art lessons from a local artist in Sykesville, Maryland. She continued her art training into her early college years and instantly embraced collage and Surrealism as means of coping with her growing disillusionment with the world. It began as an automatic hobby that turned into an all-consuming passion and means of expression. She considers her work experiments with imperfection and fear, as well as exercises connecting Life with Death and other inescapable fates and collective memories. When not covered in glue and hundreds of deconstructed images, Brook enjoys screenwriting, playing and teaching piano and entertaining her 5 year old daughter. She resides and works out of her home with her husband in Westminster, Maryland.