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Art for days

Ian Johnston, Between the Lines (Light) (detail), 2010. silkscreened stoneware.
Ian Johnston, Between the Lines (Light) (detail), 2010. silkscreened stoneware.

Ian Johnston moulds an exhibit

Article: Destiny Kaus – A&C Writer

Moose Factory-born artist, Ian Johnston, takes his artwork all the way from his home in Nelson, British Columbia to display in Regina’s own Dunlop Art Gallery from Jan. 31 to Apr. 15.

On Feb. 1, the University of Regina’s ceramic department will host Johnston; there, Johnston himself will teach individuals a new technique for forming ceramic: vacuum forming.

How on earth does one form ceramic with a vacuum? I have no idea. But, I bet if I went to this workshop I’d sure as heck find out.

Interestingly enough, Johnston didn’t recognize his mad passion for art until about 10 or 12 years ago, after he spent a large portion of his life working his butt off in the architectural field.

“I studied architecture for seven years,” Johnston says, “And after I decided not to be an architect and after I’d taught art for 10 years, I decided that I wanted to be an artist.”

Thank goodness this man eventually found his knack in the art world, because his art is pretty sick. Like somebody sweet once said, “Better late than never!”

Over the last three years, Johnston has put together his body of artwork, Reinventing Consumption, to share with the public’s eyes. But how the heck did he land an art show in Regina when he hails from B.C.?

Well, according to Johnston, once he got to the point where he could propose his art exhibition to various galleries. He offered it up to a number of galleries across the country, including the Dunlop Art Gallery in Regina.

Johnston says, “It’s almost like a lottery to actually be able to fit into someone’s programming, like an institution’s programming, because there’s so few spots. It’s a lot like winning the lottery.”

I cannot help but ask this question: How does Johnston know that winning the lotto feels like landing a fantastic art gallery showing? Has Johnston actually won the lottery before? Probably not. But what do I know? He could secretly be the richest artist in Canada.

Super rich or not, Johnston does a phenomenal job of using material thrown out from the Salvation Army and from the Regina Public Library to create the pieces of art for his exhibit.

“My artwork has always had an underlying kind of current of concern around the environment and material re-use and use,” Johnston says.

This, coupled with his own fascination with materials, clay, and ceramic adds up to a three-part exhibition. According to Johnston, the third part of his exhibit “is almost like a performance.”

I think that by adding a performance-like element to his exhibit, Johnston will create a unique experience that will more actively engage individuals with his artwork. Brilliant.

To those out there who wish to someday display their own brilliance in an art exhibition, Johnston advises to “try to spin anything negative into something positive.”

This includes *cue daunting music* rejection.

“You get a lot of rejection because there are so many people who are trying to do the same thing,” Johnston says, “[but] sometimes you even get a letter back that’s nice.”

Gotta love some encouragement in the midst of discouragement.

Yes, rejection sucks. Even I know that and I’m not even an artist. But, screw it.

Johnston learned from criticism and went on to create art and share it with the public, all while sincerely loving what he does.

Image: Serge Hagemeier

About Destiny Kaus

Former carillon production manager/arts editor/arts writer.

One comment

  1. Wow. This is really poorly written and you’re in Education with a major in English? Yikes!