The good doctor spent decades meeting, sketching, and painting people of the streets, the bars, and coffee shops of Seattle. He warns people, "No mask in Public? You could be my next victim!" He has a Masters of Fine Art from the University Of Washington and loves to capture the look and soul of those he passes on the sidewalks of the Pacific Northwest. Originally from Nome, Alaska, he has stories to tell and share about history as well as his own struggles. His artwork captures the essence of people . . . their pain, their joy, and sometimes even their soul. Dr Johnny believe is putting the "FUN in disFUNctional."
A Dr Johnny Wow rant from 2010 illustraits the sometime sad state of affairs of art, artists, and art professors. Dr Johnny often speaks of himself in the third person. "Recently one of Seattle’s most celebrated artists had yet another big gallery show. He has been a UW professor for over 40 years. His artwork has been admirable and adventurous, and he remains prolific and diverting.
However the Good Doctor’s personal experience of his teaching back in the 60’s was disconcerting. The professor was so focused on a raven-haired, hawk nosed co-ed wearing low-rise bellbottoms that barely a dozen words of instruction could be spared on other students during the quarter. The Doctor took no further courses from the esteemed professor, but has, nevertheless, been a great admirer of the artwork and the many stylistic variations. On the other hand, several of the more conscientious and informative instructors have not had art careers of much distinction. Being a good teacher and being a serious creative force are often two mutually exclusive paths." - The art of a professorial type, but is not the teacher that Dr Johnny was describing. The image kind of looks like Lenin, but it is not . . . nor is it a painting of John Lennon, but the image feels like a professor . . . of something.
Dr Johnny kept records, or rather hand written lyrics and music of songs and groups he loved. Chuck Berry and ZZ Top were two of his favorites. Although, Dr. Johnny didn't have the hair of ZZ Top, nor the coloring of Chuck Berry, he dressed in black much like Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons . . . and loved the feeling of a sharp dressed man . . . like Chuck Berry.
Dr Johnny has generations of images from men to women, from animals to kinda animals; and they almost all have a story that goes along with them. Enjoy this sample rogues gallery of people you may have passed on the street in downtown Seattle, atop Capitol Hill, or perhaps just sipping coffee in Tacoma, Bremerton, Gig Harbor, or Fox Island. The video lasts just over two minutes and images run about five seconds each. Enjoy the faces.
Talent is as Common as Salt
“The thing I hate most about advertising is that it attracts all the young, bright, creative people, leaving us with only the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.” – Banksy
Banksy voices a common lament and he is recycling ideas from the previous century. Ironically his artwork is a coy recycling of old visual ideas as well.
When times are good, a person with very modest abilities can make quite a nice living in the sales-support industries. The wheels of commerce must be kept decoratively greased. However, in the best of times barely a soul can make anything resembling a career within the Arts.
There is no shortage of talent. Talent is as common as salt. There is not a lack of talent, but within the Arts there is a lack of support. Talent is a commodity, and just like oil or electricity it is distributed to those that are willing to pay for it. There is so much talent in the Arts and so little support for creative endeavors that only rare individuals can attract sufficient supporters to survive. Sooner or later, most of the successful will drift into other areas of endeavor to make a living. Most employment opportunities don’t require talent, they require showing up on time and going through the repetitive daily routines of industry.
Only the most neurotic and driven individuals will persist in the Arts. These quirky personality disorders are not necessarily connected to talent and internal turmoil often stifle growth and development. - Dr Johnny
Paintings Have Feelings, Too
"Paintings truly do have feelings. This Dr Johnny painting of a man and woman has an overwhelming feeling of compression. They are physically being compressed, cracked, and reduced together like boulders to pebbles and from pebbles to sand. Can't you feel shoving and even isolation at what could be a party . . . or perhaps just an after work comment or two, but mostly I think it shows feelings ready to burst forward and out in a silent rage. This romance is done with. The life of a marriage or a fling can end in any instance and this one feels like a sling shot, or a shot sling."
-- Justin Tyme
Sketches Show True People
Dr Johnny would sometimes sketch or draw people in clubs and on the streets and sometimes he would first capture their image in him mind first. Paintings sometimes grow from sketches or drawings, but quite often the sketches themselves tell us enough about the people to make colors and paint redundant.