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ADVANCING THE ARTS ACROSS MARYLAND

Nicole Johnson

Nicole Johnson

Artist Work

SeeWeed
2015
Mixed Media on Canvas
12x16
That Didn't Last Long
2015
Mixed Media on Canvas
16x20
A Tree Divided
2015
Mixed Media
You and Me Easter
2015
Mixed Media
14x20
Elaina's Valley
2015
Mixed Media
28x36
Marsala
2015
Mixed Media on Chipboard
22" round

Artist Information

County
Baltimore County
Artistic Category

Visual Arts

Artist Statement

My name is Nicole Johnson and I am a surface design artist. I graduated cum laude from Moore College of Art + Design in 1998 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Textile Design. Since graduating, I have worked in both creative and non-creative work environments. Currently, in my full time day job, I am an Executive Assistant. Outside of the office, I spend my time balancing my two amazing kids and time in my home studio. For a long time my personal art and creativity had taken a back seat to being a mother and working full time. The art supplies sat untouched, sometimes used only once or twice a year. Self-expression through a creative process seemed out of my grasp for many years, and I gave up. As a Textile Designer, creating was regimented always with plans and restrictions; emotions were not a part of my earlier work. My beginner’s portfolio consisted of works created with color forecasted by the fashion world. Theme, subject, and specific sets of repeat guidelines dictated my design. My own enjoyment and expression were not often a part of the process. Even while working towards my BFA, the freedom of self-expression seemed just out of my reach and at times a luxury I wasn’t afforded. I envied the 2D and 3D fine artists around me. Their freedom to choose their own process and vision was fascinating to me, how did they connect to that? Finally, after facing a few major life changes, I felt it necessary to make the time to be creative, quietly and personally; creativity on my own terms. I kept it private so that I could explore my new creative space and thought process. With no pressure to complete a project, no request to make a family member a piece of art or craft, no plans to make money, no deadlines, the only purpose was to create whatever felt good in the moment – for me. There has been an amazing cathartic release in processing my feelings through my work. Through exploring these creative possibilities I purchased a faded print in a beautiful frame at a local Goodwill store. In local consignment shops and thrift stores one can find canvases with printed and painted images. Some are merely discarded, others are often stretched on frames that are the wrong size, the frame is damaged, the art is faded, or owners are just tired of looking at it and replace it. I purchased a few with the intention of seeing if I could repurpose something once discarded. Currently, I have a collection of canvases, board and frames and use them in my own artwork. It has been a wonderful process to leave areas of the original work (memories) as inspiration and guidance for the new art (possibilities). I feel positive about the “recycle/repurpose” part of this journey. Not only am I finding a way to bring something old or used back to life, I keep it from the landfills. I am teaching my children that we can reuse things that we might otherwise discard and above all I am challenged to use what was there in a new piece of artwork. Often artists find a blank surface intimidating but having a surface with something present to work with, as a springboard to create is exciting to me. Through experimenting in painting, drawing and rekindling my artistic voice I have found that I make a lot of circles and spirals and that the process of making this circular motion is relaxing and healing. Patterns and colors are what soothe my soul and circles are the means to express it. Circles are present in all of my current work. They not only are relaxing to make they represent my continuous spiritual, emotional and creative journeys. Circles are always progressing and spiraling forward, they are a metaphor just as the recycling of an old canvas represents the forward movement, and so do they.

Artist Bio

EXHIBITIONS AND SHOWS:

Big Ideas
Berlin Arts and Entertainment at the Globe
January 8 - February 7, 2016

Tony Weeg Photography Gallery + Studio| Salisbury, MD 8/1 – 31/2015
Exhibitor (Exhibition and Auction), Studio2015 Salisbury Skate Deck Art Show

Tony Weeg Photography Gallery + Studio| Salisbury, MD 8/1 – 31/2014
Exhibitor (Exhibition and Auction), Studio2015 Salisbury Skate Deck Art Show

Carroll Museums | Baltimore, MD 5/8 – 6/14/2015
Exhibitor, Transformation (Juried Exhibition)

Wilson Gallery, Moore College of Art + Design | Philadelphia, PA 1/28 – 3/28/2012
Exhibitor, MATERIALITY: ALUMNI EXHIBITION 2012 (Alumni Juried Exhibition)

Young Rembrandts Program | Baltimore, MD 9/2008 – 6/2011
Owner/Instructor (National Arts Education Program)

Delray Center for the Arts at Old School Square | Delray Beach, FL 10/1999 – 8/2001
Executive Assistant to the Director of Cornell Museum of Art
Volunteer Coordinator, Cornell Museum of Art and Crest Theater

First Night® 2000 | Delray Beach, FL 12/2000
Designed First Night® event Button, T-Shirt and Poster

Women’s Housing Coalition of Baltimore | Baltimore, MD 12/1999
Holiday Card Design

EDUCATION:
Moore College of Art + Design | Philadelphia, PA 5/1998
Bachelors of Fine Art, Emphasis in Textile Design, Magna cum Laude