San Francisco based artist Ian Johnson has been busy since his 2008 monograph Beauty is a Rare Thing. Six solo shows and a group exhibition later, his work has evolved while remaining just as jarringly cool and full of life.
This new book from Paper Museum Press presents all-new paintings and drawings by Johnson in his signature style: portraits of jazz musicians from the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s that were produced using gouache, acrylic, or pen on paper or wood panel. Johnson combines abstract background shapes with figurative representations to create jaw-dropping pieces that succeed at evoking the music of each artist.
Creative geometric compositions of space and color unfold in unexpected ways to express the tone of each musician’s output, while detailed line work represents nuances of feeling in these past visionaries’ facial expressions and body language.
Ian Johnson is also the art director of Western Edition skateboards and creates limited edition collector’s skate decks; his work has been featured in Juxtapoz and Jazz Colours and he has created illustrations for The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Wax Poetics, and The New Yorker.