Howard David Johnson

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Howard David Johnson
Howard David Johnson.jpg
publicity photo
Born (1954-09-02) 2 September 1954 (age 59)
Mötsch, Germany
Nationality American
Known for Painting, Photography
Movement Realism
Website
http://www.howarddavidjohnson.com/

Howard David Johnson (born 2 September 1954) is an American photorealist Illustrator and painter most noted for historical, religious and mythological art. He works in a wide variety of mixed media ranging from oil on canvas to digital media.[1][2][3][4] Though he paints in a realistic vein, he creates a world of folklore and mythical characters combining his traditional style and methods with contemporary digital techniques.[5][6][7][8] Specializing in archetypal and idealized iconic imagery, he is a classically trained artist who is particularly influenced by the great illustrators of the late 19th century and the artists of the pre-Raphaelite period.[9]

Early life[edit]

Born in Mötsch, Germany, the son of an American Air Force officer stationed at Bitburg Air Base, he was influenced by the art and culture that he was exposed to while traveling in the Mediterranean and Central Europe. He began his life as an artist as a boy in 1960.

He was trained at the University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Art and began his career working as a scientific illustrator for their School of Paleontology reconstructing dinosaurs in 1974. [14] It was under their tutelage that he developed his research methods for his scientific approach to ensuring accurate details for his historical illustrations. [15]

Career[edit]

Johnson illustrates for books, magazines, games, motion pictures, television programs and computer software for The National Geographic Society, The University of Cambridge and The University of Texas, Adobe Photoshop, PBS television, Doubleday, Universal Studios and Paramount Studios among others. His illustrations for books like The Blood of Heroes and Fairies 101 have appeared in major bookstores newspapers and magazines across America[10] but he has had more educational work published in Europe.[11] He has worked for major Universities like Oxford[12] and his works like Helen of Troy have been published in textbooks like The Epic Cycle by M. L. West and appear in libraries worldwide."[13]

His major subjects are Greek, Celtic, and Norse mythology, Arthurian legends and elements of other mythologies. In addition, there are extensive articles on his technique and some of his subject matter on his website.

A proponent of mechanical aids to visual art such as photography, tracing, projection, and computers, Johnson considers his art to be a modern-day offshoot of the old Brandywine School style started by Howard Pyle. In addition to traditional media, he combines drawing, painting, photography, and digital media to create his Realistic Art.[14]

Johnson has a background in the natural sciences and history. As a commercial illustrator Johnson has not only used the computer to create fantasy art but has been involved in the development and advertising of computer imaging software for Adobe Photoshop. His traditional art was exhibited in the British Museum in London England in 1996. His digital work has also been displayed in numerous other museums since such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[15]

Style[edit]

The three different versions of All Hallows Eve, by Howard David Johnson.

His paintings of religious, mythical and historical subjects entail vivid imagery and preponderance of detail in Pre-Raphaelite art.[16] At first he used Xeroxes and tracings to make his preliminary photo-collages. Beginning with a tracing or projection he draws or paints from original computer digital montages.[17] A critic familiar with his development was quoted as saying: "That he is able to work in both digital and traditional formats and produce such similar results is a truly remarkable commentary on what a great command he has over his tools."[18]

School[edit]

He founded the Brandywine School of Illustrative Art[19] in 1996 because many 20th century realist artists were trained in an educational system which he believed was "openly hostile or dismissive to Classical realistic painting and art tradition and were only taught the tenets of Abstraction and Expressionism."

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]