Alexander Johnson

Mixed Media


I grew up in a rural setting in West Sussex, just outside Chichester in the 1960’s and 70’s. My formative years were spent in the shadow of the South Downs walking and cycling around with complete freedom. After finishing Art College in Cardiff, I spent the bulk of my adult life living in cities – London, Barcelona, Nijmegen and most recently Brighton. Now I have ended up back in the countryside where I started, still in the shadow of the Downs in East Sussex, where I have built a studio in Laughton, a small village near Lewes.

My work even when abstracted has always been about storytelling; setting down my own experiences and feelings and trying to present them in a way that I hope will evoke similar emotions in others. My goal is simply to make people feel a sense of wonder and reflect on our own history and its influence on the landscape and the magic of our existence on earth.

I don't wait for inspiration, I’m in the studio every day, so new ideas surface during the working process, and I develop them. Certain ongoing interests influence me; the map-like contours from aerial reconnaissance photos that my father took in the war still thread their way through the work. The influence of British post-modernists like David Bomberg, Peter Lanyon and Barbara Hepworth are also clear to see.

For me, there has to be progress from year to year, I'm not someone who can make the same painting over and over again. However, unifying the work over the years is a linear structure that shows through in the texture of the paint as well as in the design; it all comes back to drawing. My aim is to produce an antidote to the slick digital and CGI images that surround us on screens everywhere. I like paintings with fingerprints and brush marks that look like they have been made by a human being rather than a computer programme. I love to see a trace of charcoal peeping through in works by Picasso or Matisse, that’s what thrills me about art.

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