Interview: Laura Johnson
Luca Curci talks with Laura Johnson during FRAGMENTED IDENTITIES, second appointment of BORDERS Art Fair 2020, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello.
Laura Johnson has an MFA in painting and drawing. She has been a full time art teacher at the high school and university levels, and currently volunteers to teach art to children at non-profits for underserved populations. She paints landscapes and portraits primarily. Some of her work addresses social and environmental topics she is concerned with. The painting in this Borders art exhibition, titled “Homes with Fences”, is a reflection on the ways we selfishly and inhumanely imprison one another, both figuratively and actually. She created this piece for Europe Must Act, to help bring awareness to the refugee and asylum seekers crisis on the Greek Aegean Sea islands. When the borders to Greece open to US citizens, she plans to go to Chios to volunteer and teach art to the refugees and asylum seekers living behind the fences there.
Luca Curci – What’s your background?
Laura Johnson – I have an MFA in Painting and Drawing from Indiana University.
LC – What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
LJ – Currently climate change and climate migration influence my work.
LC – What are you currently working on?
LJ – I am painting a Mastiha tree for Action for Education. They are an NGO working with refugees and asylum seekers on the Greek Island, Chios. I believe the Mastiha tree only grows on Chios.
LC – What is your creative process like?
LJ – I like to listen to podcasts while I paint, and to have at least a three hour chunk of time to sit and paint.
LC – Which is the role the artist plays in the society? And the contemporary art?
LJ – I would say the artist should work to bring social change and awareness.
LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
LJ – It is always changing, perhaps people and the environment.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? How did it inspire you?
LJ – I think the role of the artist should be about breaking down barriers, and broadening inclusion, it’s a great festival concept.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition? How is it connected to the theme of the entire festival?
LJ – My painting is about the refugees and asylum seeker camps that are erected to contain displaced individuals. It is a sad commentary on governments treatment of ‘others’. There should be no borders, this world belongs to all of us. There is plenty of space to share.