Colin Johnson: The Nth Degree

Released Tuesday, June 5, 2012

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The Nth Degree, by Colin Johnson.
15% of the sale of this print goes to Farm Sanctuary.

Colin Johnson has been a professional freelance illustrator and gallery artist since his graduation from The Maryland Institute College of Art in the Spring of 1995. His work has received honors from Print's Regional Design Annual, The Society of Publication Design, Communication Arts Illustration Annual, American Illustration, and Society of Illustrators Los Angeles from which he received the "Gold Award" in the editorial category for the Illustration West 43 contest and "Best In Show" for the the Illustration West 46 contest. Some of his freelance illustration clients include: American Airlines, The American Medical Association, Audubon, Better Homes and Gardens, The Chicago Tribune, Converse, Epoch Films, Fast Company, The Harvard Business Review, National Geographic, The New York Times, Newsweek, Raygun, Time Inc., and U.S. News and World Report. He has recently been a part of gallery shows in: Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Denver, Portland, Hamburg (Germany), Melbourne (Australia), and Rome (Italy). Colin lives and works in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.

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About the print:
The print is called "The Nth Degree" and showcases a collage style that I have developed over the years and dubbed "hyper-collage" due to the intense complexity and dense amount of collage and painting work combined in these types of pieces. The title refers somewhat specifically to the fact that every element of the composition is taken literally to the "nth degree" in terms of the large numbers of collage elements needed to fill every tiny space on the surface of the artwork.

Typically, I do not create process drawings or sketches when I work on these types of collage pieces. Usually I started with a painted background and then simply begin gluing collage elements and then painting, gluing, painting, gluing, etc...until the work is complete. This particular piece took an entire month to finish.

This print is available in multiple sizes. It was digitally signed by the artist. The 8x10 and 11x14 prints are numbered by The Working Proof, and the 20x16 prints come with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity. Learn more here.


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What has inspired you recently?
I'm an avid toy collector and as such have been greatly inspired by looking at toys in my own collection and toys that I have been researching online.  I'm inspired by both the toy designs of vintage toys in my collection and also greatly inspired by their colors. Color is really big inspiration to me. Sometimes I get one color in my head and I have to do a collage piece to get it out my system.

Why did you choose to pair with Farm Sanctuary with your print?
I have no specific reason for pairing the image that I selected with the specific charity that I chose. However, I'm very happy to support Farm Sanctuary since I'm a big animal lover. I had a rescue dog myself and she was a great companion. Unfortunately she had cancer and passed away earlier this year but she changed my life and outlook on the treatment of all animals on this planet. As such, I'm very happy to hear about animals being rescued and given good homes. I hope that my artwork will help to benefit that cause.

How have you seen art transform the world around you?
Art has transformed the world in so many ways that it's really hard to understand or weigh the impact. It wasn't until I reached adulthood that I began to understand to what degree artists and designers have contributed to society. From art in museums to murals, to actual buildings that make up the cities that we live in, and all created by artists. Street signs, cars, traffic lights, right down to the dots on the road that divide traffic on the highway, all created and conceived of by artists. As well as being practical, art can also have a healing factor. I know many artists who have survived very serious health conditions like cancer and credit the making of art as a means of survival that helped them through the process and ultimately gave them reason to live.

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If you could pick one artist to mentor you, who would it be?
This is a tough one. I could probably go with a number of different artists on this one if I had time to give it more thought. But I'd possibly choose Robert Rauschenberg as a mentor. He had a great intuitive sensibility when it came to art making and also a great business sense. I'm sure I could have learned a lot from his advice and guidance.

Who are some artists you think people should know about?
Five buddies of mine who are really remarkable artists that everyone should know about are:
Jason Limon
Dan May
Robert Hardgrave
Robert Steven Connett
Leah Palmer Preiss

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