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Artist of the day: Tanya Johnston

November 25th, 2009 · No Comments

I am, admittedly, in a weird head space after having lost an old friend who should have been with us for another fifty-plus years. It’s made me think a lot about the larger, arguably unanswerable questions in life that religion would help answer if I were religious. Instead I often turn to art and music to play that role.

I recently discovered Tanya Johnston on Design for Mankind and her moody, cerebral work is really resonating with me. I tend to enjoy art that is more aesthetic than conceptual, but Johnston’s illustrations work for me because they are still fundamentally aesthetic, and the conceptualization is not so far fetched.

Johnston’s artist statement begins with, “Drawing from symbolism, semiotics, psychology, science and culture, my process of creation attempts to synthesize linear and non-linear thinking. Through my work I explore the realms of reality as illusion, and illusion as reality.” This is a rather abstract explanation, BUT I buy it because it makes sense in the context of her work. Plus it is clear through her artist statement, titles and quotations that Johnston simply seeks to provide clarity around her work.