Amongst the Crowd - by Ian Johnson




"Amongst the Crowd", by Ian Johnson, May 2017 Artist-in-Residence

May 3, 2017 – June 4, 2017

Wednesdays–Sundays, 1–5 pm

Artist Reception: Saturday, May 27, 3–5 pm

De Young Museum, San Francisco




Ian Johnson grew up in Syracuse, New York, where he developed a love for jazz by listening to his grandfather’s favorite radio station. Years later, while living in San Francisco, his interest in the genre was rekindled through skate video soundtracks. Johnson began painting his own jazz posters that evolved into T-shirt and skateboard graphics, featuring hypnotizing designs reflective of the improvisational quality of skateboarding and jazz music. During his residency, Johnson continues to explore the legacy of jazz, projecting concerts from the music’s mid-century masters in the gallery and painting a large panel that will be filled with silhouettes of some of the most influential jazz musicians. Visitors are invited to contribute to the painting.

Combining his passion for music and skating, Johnson co-founded Western Edition, a skate brand that uses images of jazz legends to express movement, action, and energy. Johnson’s works represent landmark artists such as Miles Davis, Nat King Cole, and John Coltrane as well as lesser-known musicians, chosen for their historic roles in revolutionizing music. Johnson has exhibited locally at Park Life, White Walls, Guerrero Gallery, and Athen B. Gallery and internationally in Japan, Taiwan, and France. He has created illustrations for the New York Times Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, and the New Yorker.

The Artist Studio program is made possible with major support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ Museums for America program.