Featured Artist: Al Johnson


Name: Al Johnson

Hometown:  Hollis, NY

Current town:  Philadelphia, PA

Job description:  Fine Artist


Al Johnson, illustrator, fine artist, educator and mentor has developed an artistic style that captures the classical, weaves it with the contemporary to create bodies of work that exemplifies his individual style. Spiritually connected to his work, his mix of color and shapes through abstract expressionism allows the viewer to interpret what they see and feel.

While formally trained in the techniques of the great masters, Mr. Johnson honed these skills, while attending famed institutions such as Pratt Institute, the Albert Pale School of Commercial Arts and the Arts Student League, constantly challenging the creative force within.

Mr. Johnson most recently exhibited in the Maison des Arts Gallery located LeBacares, France where his “New Yorkers” exhibition was widely received by the residents of the south of France. The 40+ paintings in this show will also be on tour in five major cities in France. His work has also been shown at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum in Japan, the Guangzhou International Art Fair in China, countless galleries in New York and other major cities within the United States.

“ShoeBox Dreams” 16”x16” mixed media on masonite © 2015 by Al Johnson


His scope of worked have crossed many boundaries including the creation of the original renderings of the Georgia Aquarium, the largest aquarium in the world. Chosen out of a nationwide search, Mr. Johnson’s 5 by 7 foot oil on canvas commissioned portrait of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm hangs in Brooklyn Borough Hall. The Energy Tile Series commissioned by the YMCA for permanent installation created by Mr. Johnson remains to inspire reflecting the spirit of movement. And, he has been listed as one of the top 100 in celebration of the Romare Bearden Centennial Celebration. Continually participating in events focused on the uplifting of a Nation, Mr. Johnson’s original painting “The Arrivals” was presented at the LGBT Leadership Council of the Democratic National Conference to First Lady Mrs. Obama.

His unwavering self-identity and respect for the gift of art motivates him to give back to future artists through his unique teaching style designed by Al Johnson Art Studios.

His passion is to inspire.

Upcoming projects:  A juried exhibition at the Malvern Retreat House.



“The Dream Channel” 48”x74” mixed media on canvas © 2014 by Al Johnson

Describe your work. I am spiritually connected to my work. My mix of color and shapes through abstract expressionism allows the viewer to interpret what they see and feel.

What are you currently working on? I am developing a body of work that further explores interpretism.

What materials do you work with? I am a mixed media artist.  I paint with oils and acrylics.  I am pretty traditional, but also like to employ collage with paint or found objects.

What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have? I mostly like to paint at night when the majority of the world is asleep.  However, when I work on commissioned projects I will work day and night to get the piece completed.


“Cosmic Cold Sweat” 15”x15” Acrylics on Masonite © 2015 by Al Johnson

What’s your art background? Studied at Pratt Institute, the Albert Pale School of Commercial Arts and the Arts Student League.

What’s been happening in your life? This past May, I was invited by the Minister of Culture to visit the South of France and participate in their residency program, is represented by La Maison des Arts.  On my return to the States, I immediately relocated to Philadelphia.  Since I’ve been here I relaunched my arts coaching program and started the Expressions in Color paint party which incorporates guided meditation to help artists to relax, increases self-awareness and acceptance. You are free to paint what you feel with surprisingly unknown results.

What’s next for you? In the beginning of 2017, my work is featured at the malvern Retreat House art show.

Describe your current state of mind. I am optimistic about life This is an exciting time to be an artist because technology allows us to stay connected to other artists and collectors on a global level.

”Escapism” 36”x36” Acrylics on canvas by © 2016 by Al Johnson


What’s inspiring you? The love of life!

Do you have any other exhibits coming up/ past exhibits you’d like to mention? I mentioned these i my earlier answers.

Is any of your work political? Currently, not at all  but, in the past I’ve tackled social issues in my work.

What are you trying to communicate with your art? A uniformity that is based on colors, shapes and light and the imagination of the viewer.

What is one of the biggest challenges you face as an artist? Staying relevant.

How has the meaning of your work changed over time? I’ve taken my earlier work which was more figurative and am now creating a blend and balance which is more abstract.

What do you dislike about your work? At times I feel the need to express darkness and delivering a light. Occasionally I wish to envision being wrapped around a shape or space but I relax and have to remind myself ….this is only a portal from a world not seen.

“Early Wisdom” 16”x16” mixed media on Masonite © 2015 by Al Johnson


Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet? I would love to transfer my painting to a much larger scale like murals. This only one of the reasons I sought to come to Philadelphia.

What is your dream project? I would love to see my work in a major museum displayed in different rooms – each displaying a different series and narratives of my art works and further explain what “Interpretizm” means and how it works. 

Are you involved with any organizations? I am a creative member of Inliquid Art 8 Design and the resident artist at Rush Arts Philadelphia.

You regularly collaborate with other artists. Yes, I have done a number of groups shows.

What are a few favorite spots in your area? Honestly, my studio is my favorite spot! I am still exploring the Philly area and haven’t found “the spots’ yet.

“Emotional Detector” 15”x15”mixed media on Masonite by © 2016 by Al Johnson


Favorite artists and why? People in your field whom you most admire: Romare Bearden because he was a master of composition.

What are you reading? Raids on the Unspeakable, the Thomas Merton story.

Favorite comic strips/ comic books/ graphic novels? Modesty Blaise.

What are you listening to these days? New world music.

What was the last show (music) you attended? Pat Metheny

What was the last exhibit you attended? Unique Chairs at the Allens Lane Art Center

Your website(s): www.aljohnsontheartist.com


“Spiritual Elixirs” 20”x20” mixed media on Masonite © 2015 by Al Johnson



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