Jim Johnston - Photography & Painting
I believe that art should uplift the spirit, and not dwell on the dark side. To me the role of the artist is to create joy and convey a message of hope. I draw my inspiration from the writing and history of the Bahá’í Faith, which teaches oneness of God, the elimination of prejudice, the unity of mankind, the essential unity of all religions, and the equality of women and men.
I had very little involvement with art until 1994 when, at a conference workshop, I was asked to visually interpret writings. It ignited a spark for a long dormant passion I didn’t know I had. The next day I bought a set of watercolors and began creating. Later, I explored acrylics and I became infatuated with the intaglio printmaking process.
Photography has always been integral to my architecture practice and my camera is always with me when I travel. In 2009 I purchased my first professional grade digital Nikon. I enjoy the benefits of enhancing captured images electronically.
Over the last 20 years I have traveled to many Native American Centers and Reservations where I have gained an appreciation of North America’s First Nations People. I am inspired by the people’s spirituality, love for mother earth and all her creatures and peoples, and a deep appreciation for the Creator and for those who have gone before. My camera is an instrument of artistic expression and I try to capture the solitude of nature and the spiritual places made by man for the love of his Creator.
Beginning in 1995, the same year I was ‘juried in’ as a Prairie Art Alliance member, I started to display my work, titled ‘Garden of Humanity Exhibit of Original Art,’ in public venues. The work has been exhibited throughout Central Illinois as well as Wisconsin, Missouri, Mississippi, and Indiana.
“If it is the Creator’s Will, I will continue on my oddesseys of travel and creation for several more years."