Alexander Johnson produces abstract distillations from the figurative world, limited edition silkscreens and vibrant oils on canvas.
Where did you train? What did training teach you and what do you wish it had taught you?
I trained in Worthing at what was then West Sussex College of Design for two years on foundation then went to Cardiff Art College to do my degree. In retrospect the most important things I learnt were all practical, how to make and stretch a canvas, how to make etchings, lithographs and most importantly silkscreen printing. What I wish it had taught me was how to market my finished work - we had one mornings 'talk' towards the end of the three years from a visiting lecturer talking about how to put a portfoilio together, approach galleries, what to say etc. It was pitiful! I have spent the last 30 years gradually learning what could have been taught me over those three years, at times it's been a real struggle.
One favourite living artist?
Ai Wei Wei. For his Bravery, ambition, vision and imagination.
At age 16 who most influenced your style?
At 16 I was probably most influenced by punk LP covers by Barney Bubbles (who worked for Elvis Costello and the Damned amongst others), Caroline Coon who designed the Clash's forst LP (which I still adore) and obviously Jamie Reid. It is impossible to explain now, out of its social context, how utterly stunning and 'new' a cover like the one for the Pistols first LP was.
What music are you currently listening to?
Mark Stewart's new one, Orbital, Bon Iver, Mogwai, Joy Division (having seen the spectacular performance 'Live-Transmission' at the Dome by the Heritage Orchestra and Scanner commissioned for Brighton Festival). Also some jazz; Sonny Rollins and John Coltane, Miles Ahead by Miles Davis is always amazing. I collect vinyl records so whatever I find in the charity shops of George Street for 99p!
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I love the UK now, I have lived in Barcelona and in Holland and was away for five years, but I missed the people, especially their humour. It would be nice to live somewhere that gets really hot, I loved the uninhabited areas of Lanzarote when i visited a few years ago, there was a little town called Haria, it would be nice to have a studio there over the winter months.
Do you have a good work/life balance?
My work is my life really, I work pretty much every day, I don't really need to relax that much (or know how to) - I am quite happy the way things are and feel very lucky to have the life I have and be able to live and work as an artist, as was my dream when I was younger.