I’m Joe Johnson, American painter living and working in Paris, France. I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. I studied fine arts at Arizona and Colorado State Universities before receiving a BFA from Parsons School of Design in Paris. My work has been exhibited in Paris, California and Arizona, and buyed by private collectors in Germany, France, Canada, USA.
My Paintings are primarily oil on canvas and vary in scale from 30 x 30cm to 2meters squared. My pallet is mostly made up of earth tones with primary colors as accents. My approach to painting is very much like a sculptor, putting a lot of emphasis on rendering the volume and form of the image to give life to my work.
The serie of my different ethnic portraits is inspired by the exotic population living in the 18 area of Paris. Observing Africans, Indians, North-Africans, scared, tattooed or percing faces, in Chateau rouge, illustrated to me how the human body itself can be transformed into a work of art.
It is also a statement about humanity and that eventhough there is great diversity throughout the world, one can find similarities in various cultures that are universal.
The intensity in the eyes of my paintings, is that the viewer feel the full impact of the emotions conveyed in the portraits.
I also wish to imply that the tatoos and body paint serve as armor and although the subjects appear vunerable, they are protected.
The portraits are closely cropped to direct the spectators’s attention toward the face. The flat color of background is meant to give the feeling of enviroment or setting with out actually painting it and thus allowing the emphasis to remain on the portrait.
Painting cliches of indigenious people is a statement about how the globalization of many countries is causing them to lose their customs and traditions, and that soon the only records that will remain of these ancient cultures will be national geoghraphic like cliches.
When I’m painting, I like to create stories and adventures that help to bring the portraits to life. I draw from my own travel experiences as well as the collective experiences of my friends who come from all over the world. I also enlist the aid of books and magazines. My goal is to take the viewer on a mystical journey where each portrait creates its own dialogue with the viewer.