Do you consider yourself to have a defined style?
Styles plural may be a better way of describing what I do these days. I think that I tend to combine a number of different styles which hopefully represent my work well. I don’t think that my “style” is as clearly defined as other artists that I know but as long as the work is consistently strong and progressive then I’m satisfied. This may be a better question for the viewers of my work than for myself as the artist.
Your gallery stuff is amazing! How much does it cost?
Thanks! Well, pricing for gallery work depends largely on popularity of the artist and the size of the pieces being sold. I don’t know about my popularity factor but my work tends to be pretty small so the prices are fairly affordable starting at around $200 – $250 for small pieces. However, I’m working on some much larger pieces for some upcoming shows which will probably be in the $3000 – $5000 price range.
Apart from illustration what other things are you into?
Squash, knitting, taxidermy, volleyball, voodoo, piloting pontoons, placating squirrels, carving totem poles, attending filibusters…
Kidding. Probably stuff that most people enjoy: movies, music, reading, collecting toys, hanging out with my dog, fighting ninjas…
Who are your favorite artists/illustrators alive today?
Basically a lot of the artists that I’m in regular contact with on a weekly basis and who I’ve shown with recently. Some of whom include: Dan May, Robert Hardgrave, Jeremy Pruitt, Aaron Nather, Chris Ryniak, Mike Burnett, Jeremiah Ketner, Ryan Bubnis, Martin Ontiveros, Linzie Hunter, and Heiko Muller… to name a few.
I've noticed Robert Hardgrave's acquired one of your hyper collages recently – Do you collect Art? Would you buy a piece of Robert's work?
Yes, I do collect art and I would and will be buying a piece of Robert’s art in the future. Currently I’m waiting on a trade piece from Robert (hint, hint…) and working out trades w/ a number of other artists. I currently own pieces by Charles Glaubitz, Jeremiah Ketner, Gina Triplett, Matthew Curtius, Dan May, Charles Anderson Design, Buff Monster, Foi Jimenez Jurado, Nathan Ota, Jeremy Fish, Jeff Soto, Brendan Danielsson, Jaime Zollars, Apak, Martin Ontiveros, Tim Biskup, Craig LaRotonda, Doug Boehm, Mike Burnett, Rik Catlow, and Susan Ghahremani… to name a few.
How much of your work is done with the aid of a computer?
I create all of my work by hand but I usually scan it into Photoshop and clean it up and enhance colors if necessary. Most of my illustration work these days is sent to the client for print purposes as a 300dpi jpeg unless the art director requests a higher dpi. That aspect of the job makes my life so much easier today in contrast to when I first started out as an illustrator in 1994 and I was sending the original pieces to the client via FedEx for print purposes.
Which galleries have you shown at and which galleries would you like to show at?
I’ve shown at too many galleries to name here (or to remember off the top of my head!) but I’ve recently been a part of shows at DvA Gallery in Chicago, BLVD Gallery in Seattle, and the new Limited Addiction Gallery in Denver. Ultimately, I’d love to be represented by a reliable gallery in both NYC and L.A. but I’m guessing that would be the wish of many artists in this day and age.
Are you involved in any collaborative projects at the moment and is there anyone you would like to work with?
Yes, I’m working on a number of collaborative pieces with Dan May. We’ve already completed a number of pieces for different shows, we’ve got a few going on currently, and we’re discussing a few more. Ultimately, we’d love to find someone who might be willing to publish a book of our collected collaborative works (hint, hint…).
There are also a few advertising and design firms that I’d love to work with on interesting projects. And if you happen to be one those cool firms and are reading this interview give me a call!!!
What’s next in the pipeline for Colin Johnson?
I have upcoming gallery shows in May at BLVD Gallery in Seattle and at the inaugural group show for Windup Gallery in Mesa, Arizona. And then in June I’ll be a part of the Art Dorks Collective Group Show in Los Angeles, California at Thinkspace Gallery. I also have some illustration work coming out in the upcoming June issue of Harvard Business Review.
Art or Illustration?
Well, if you’re asking me whether I choose fine art or illustration I would say that I’m somewhat torn between the two at the moment. I enjoy both but it’s the equivalent of having two careers.
Bangers or Mash?
Bangers? You mean like “gang bangers?” No. I know. You mean those British sausage thingies right? I gotta go with the mash!!!
You can see more of Colin Johnson’s work at