About

About the Artist

Ryan Welden Johnson, also known as R. Johnson, was born in Washington DC at Georgetown hospital. He resides and works in beautiful Montgomery County Maryland. When he is not busy producing art, he teaches martial arts and writes creative stories and poems.

Education

Associates of Fine Arts · Maryland College of Art and Design · 1999

Bachelor of Arts · University of Maryland · 2006

Artist’s Statement

As an artist, I create works for visual allure in a wide range of mediums. This process involves creating unique expressions of imagery of the subject matter. With each work, specific ideas help form the design to bring out a voice of individuality. As a result, I want the audience to experience levels of connection to the piece in their own distinct way.

The inspiration for my artwork comes from whatever I find interesting about an idea to craft. It could be studies of portraits, landscapes, animals, abstracts or comic book characters. For drawings, the media is generally lead pencils, charcoal, pen and ink, pastels or markers. The process here becomes detail-oriented and precise; every line and value are essential. Yet, with painting, the process is freer and less restricted on canvas, but every color used has a purpose. Here, acrylics, oils, and watercolors are essential media. The primary focus deals with how the hues complement and contrast to create a complete work of art.

For me, fine art is an outlet of expression through a myriad of inspirations and emotions. Influences come from the aesthetics of the Renaissance or your friendly neighborhood artist. Crafting works through authentic ideas can help find your true self and purpose. This meaningful process of creation is where my levels of artistic meditation heighten. Thus, I work not only to help myself grow alongside my art but also to help others that appreciate art grow as well. Hence, we’re all works in progress trying to master the art of progression.

FAQs

When did you first want to be an artist?

The first initial thought of wanting to become an artist came to me in the early years of elementary school. Back then, I drew everything from cartoon characters to still life and portraits. I felt free in the process. I would have no problem being in a room of solitude creating art without any disturbances for hours on end. Being alone was when the best of my creativity would flourish. Once I noticed how much I enjoyed making art, I always wanted to create it.

How long have you been creating art?

Since I was a child. The first time I picked up a pencil and created my first piece was back in 1984 or 1985. I was 5 or 6 years old then.

What is the creative process behind your works?

I always begin with a sketch of the composition so I can have a reference point to execute the idea of the work. During the creative process, I often listen to music; it helps with creativity. Sometimes the music is hip-hop, jazz, electronic, classical or original soundtracks. Whatever I’m in the mood for at that moment, emotions from the music may contribute to the creative process.

What is your favorite medium to work in and why?

My first love is a pencil. That’s what I started out with as a child. There’s something that feels special about crafting artwork out of a pencil. As you learn how to use the tool, you can create amazing works on paper. Late in the years, I had discovered that mixing pencil and ink was something I became fond of. Charcoal, watercolor, color pencil, pen and ink, and oil/acrylic on canvas are the other media in my toolbox. Implementing today’s technology is something I do as well. Graphic editing software is a great tool to use for producing digital works of art.

How would you describe your art style? Does it fall under a specific genre?

I tend to think that my body of work doesn’t conform to any specific art style. For example, my works in pencil and pastel may tend to look more realistic. Yet my acrylic and oil paintings on canvas will exhibit traits of expressionism. I may also take bits and pieces from other styles and use them as aspirations to create a piece in the way I see fit. Art is and has always been subject to change due to themes, trends, and what’s happening in modern times. My art tends to follow that same path, but still holds its foundation of my personal style. Still, if I had to label my style, my artwork may lean toward modern impressionism.

What is your favorite art style? Who’s your favorite artist?

I enjoy and appreciate all types of artistic styles. These include expressionism, art nouveau, futurism, still life, impressionism, minimalism, and pop art. Color field painting, realism, and surrealism are other ones as well.

All great artists and their works inspire me to become a better artist. Observing someone else’s work can teach you to think in ways you haven’t tried. Some of my favorites include Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, M.C. Escher, and Thomas Cole. Others include Vincent van Gogh, Monet, Bierstadt, and Durer.

What is the hardest part about creating art?

The hardest part about art is creating a work that you find interesting and challenging to make. There’s also the task of creating a work that your audience can relate to on an emotional level. You want the viewer to appreciate the work’s beauty (whatever that may be to them) all at the same time. In the end, it’s about creating what you feel is right.

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