’s eyes opened up after moving to Albuquerque, where he earned a BFA from the University of New Mexico.
Experiencing a simultaneous combination of homesickness and appreciation for dwelling in a bigger city, Johnson picked up his camera and started shooting both the iconic sites of his childhood and his present life.
These works will be shown at POP Gallery this Friday.
“Basically, it’s all the artwork from my college career,” the artist tells SFR of the images that compose Urban Enchantments: New Visions of Iconic New Mexico .
Keeping a mental log of childhood memories and diehard tourist destinations, Johnson’s selection process took form. “A lot of these iconic sites I grew up seeing—they’ve always caught my eye,” he says.
One particular piece stands out: a print showcasing a pop-art St. Francis Cathedral.
“That’s what Santa Fe is all about, I feel like,” he says.
The final product is somewhere between a Rorschach test and a souvenir postcard. He achieved the new take on the old standard through the use of digital and 4x5 film photography, mixed with hand-printed multicolor lithographs achieved by traditional printing methods.
He also gave the treatment to the “urban landscape” of downtown Albuquerque.
“Having moved from Santa Fe, it was interesting to see all the big buildings—even through they’re not that big,” he jokes.
The “colors at night,” Johnson says, inspire him, as does trying to reproduce their gradient shifts on film.
ohnson elaborates on his technique: “I wanted to find a way to combine traditional and modern ways.” He achieves this by treating his pieces with a toner wash, the results of which are never set in stone.
“There’s a lot of chance involved. It’s all up to how the ink and the water dries.” The process, he says, gives his artwork an “underground feeling,” which takes center stage this weekend.
5-7 pm Friday, June 21. Free.
POP Gallery, 142 Lincoln Ave., 820-0788