Woody Johnson

Biography

"My goal as an artist is to create a work of art that is representative of our culture and speaks with a voice of all mankind. Throughout history man has created art to document his presence. I would like for my work to be that document - one of many documents. What I hope people will see and feel for this documentation is that it's something they would like to have represent them after they're gone."

 

For over thirty years, sculptor and painter Woody Johnson has been an active member of the arts community in various capacities; art teacher, university lecturer, mentor artist-in-residence, curator and gallery board member. His work has been featured in both solo and group exhibitions and has been commissioned to do city and school projects. His involvement in the arts community has been varied and diverse as his work. Formally trained as a sculptor, he also explores printmaking, painting and photography. Inspired by his travels around the world Woody Johnson has become the consummate artist. His dedication and perseverance is fueled by an undying commitment to his craft and his community.

Starting his artistic career as a sculptor, his appreciation for wood as an artistic medium came from his father who was a cabinetmaker in North Carolina. After studying graphics and sculpture at the California College of Arts and Crafts, he traveled to Nigeria where he studied with master Yoruba sculptor Lamidi Fakeye. In 1968 he traveled to Bolivia where he lived for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer, later traveling to Europe where he spent time studying pre-Columbian pottery at various museums. The Peruvian pots would become the impetus and inspiration for a series of block prints that became one of his most popular and widely known works titled "The Monkey Series." A print titled "One Struggle" from the series was used for a promotional poster for Haile Gerima's film "Wilington 10, USA 10 Thousand" presented by the African Film Society in 1979. That same year Black Scholar magazine used the print for the cover of their human rights issue. He was an artist in residence at the Studio Museum of Harlem, working mainly with large wood pieces. Returning to California in the mid-70s he entered Lone Mt. College (University of San Francisco) to complete studies in Art.

...Woody now resides in Oakland, California where he uses his skills as a sculptor to produce safe and culturally-stimulating environments, such as this community installation.

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