Bear Run Road

Bear Run Road, 2017 - SOLD

Bear Run Road, 2017 – SOLD

My latest commission is a cutout collage that will hang in a family cabin in St. Germaine, Wisconsin, which is a city featured on the map I used. The clients asked me to include certain important details, such as their love of bears, their cabin’s location on Bear Run Rd., and the legacy of two grandfathers. I recreated one grandfather’s CPD badge and the other grandfather’s Board of Trade badge.

If you have ideas for your own cutout collage, please comment on this post or e-mail me at dean@deanjohnsonartstudio.com. They make excellent gifts and meaningful ways to represent your memories!

Reverse Plexi Painting

Chicago Picasso, 2017

Chicago Picasso, 2017

For the most part, I have continued to focus this year on completing private commissions and liquidating existing inventory. I did make an exception to the rule, however, when I decided to actually do something with materials I already had lying around.

At least 2 years ago I purchased some acrylic sheets with the intention of painting on them. This technique is known as Reverse Plexi Painting, after the brand name Plexiglas. Because this medium allows artists to achieve a perfect, glassy surface, it has been used in Pop Art by Roy Lichtenstein, Jim Nutt, and many others.

My approach to the medium was to be an extension of the cut-out technique I have been employing for over 2 years, as I would be using cut-outs as stencils. I loved the idea that the Plexiglas surface would remove all evidence of my hand. The end result would be like something off a factory line.

The piece at the top of the page is my first attempt. To see how I made this, take a look at my short video:

How To Make A Reverse Plexi Painting

Hope Smiles

Hope smiles from the threshold of the year
to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier’
– Alfred Lord Tennyson

When I read the news these days, I am filled with anxiety and confusion regarding the future of humanity. From climate change warnings to an increase in prejudice-fueled attacks, there is a lot to fear.

hope-lime-green-versionThe only balm for these uncertainties is hope, which always looks ahead expectantly for something better. Hope isn’t mere pie-in-the-sky wishing; hope inspires real planning and action that can create the future we long to see. Without hope, we may walk passively and apathetically into calamity.

I was inspired by the Alfred Lord Tennyson quote at the top of this post, which comes from a play entitled The Foresters. As we move into the new year, I think of a child looking out on the world with eyes untarnished by disappointment. This is anhope-red-version especially potent symbol today on the Winter Solstice, when the light begins its rebirth.

I used this image of a child for a series of five Hope cut-outs, two of which I included in this post (above and to the right). I also created some Hope Christmas cards (below). Astute readers might recognize the child’s pose, which is a modified version of a Holy Family design from two years ago.

christmas-cards-2016The boy in the picture could be the Infant Christ, the Divine Child of Yule, or even the Child Archetype that dwells within each of us. All of these references illustrate the same thing: a beautiful new beginning, dean-with-hope-serieswhen the future is totally undefined and every possibility is within reach.

Let us look to the future with the eyes of hope.