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Portrait of an Artist: Materials make Johnson's collages unique

  • June 18, 2011

Kathy Johnson/Collage

Residence: Modesto

Day job: I am a phlebotomist.

Background/education: I have a studio art bachelor's degree from Cal State East Bay that I achieved in my early 40s.

Experience and exposure: Besides my senior show at Cal State East Bay, my series recently showed at "The Vagina Monologues" at the State Theatre and at the Stanislaus County Commission for Women's dinner honoring the Outstanding Women of 2010.

What surprises people about your work? I use and appreciate all media, especially trying to find and incorporate new materials. Thus, my Domestic Goddess Series done completely in cabinet lining paper! The medium would be defined as collage. I was influenced by Henri Matisse's cut-out period and cut out crudely shaped figures. It is a series I created to celebrate my domestic goddesshood when I was a stay-at-home mother. But after listening to other women's stories, I included some of them to bring forth a "healing series" for women. I address several issues, like domestic abuse, breast cancer and addiction. I also address domestic bliss.

How do you reach people unfamiliar with the arts? I have printed up a small booklet that explains the series and from where I drew the experiences. I sell the booklets and prints and cards. The originals must stay together as a series and will never be sold. When I graduated with my BA in art, one of my art history professors who has written many books on goddesses in art and has been a previous curator for MOMA (Modern Art Museum) in New York saw my show and was estatic! He told me I must do more and write a book and share it (the series) with the world!

Favorite artists? Frida Kahlo, Toulouse-Lautrec and Edgar Degas

Advice for young artists? Young and older, you are never too old to go back to school and pursue your passion in the arts!

Life plans: To see my Domestic Goddess Series travel and show around the world like Judy Chicago's Dinner Party.

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