Mike Johnson

Mike Johnson


My name is Mike Johnson. I am an artist and writer living in central Ohio. I graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design with a Bachelor’s of Fine Art degree. I studied in a variety of areas of there but had most emphasis on illustration. I owe a great debt to the master draftsman Dennis Drummond for his tutelage in figure drawing which gave me a firm foundation not only in drawing but in design as well and to Ben Mahan for his instruction, friendship and the wealth of information he shared with me.

While attending CCAD, I took computer graphics courses at a time when computers were just starting to get popular in the area of the visual arts. Ben encouraged me in these studies and the knowledge I attained in theses classes was instrumental in landing my first job.

I have worked for a number of publishers over the years as an advertising designer and also as an illustrator and designer for children’s books. I have done work for Hanna/ Barbara, Warner Bros. and other studios and was also asked by Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield to collaborate with his studio on a method of digital inking I had developed that he was interested in.

I have a number of personal interests in my personal work which I choose to keep on. I like fine art, illustration and graphic design. I enjoy the overuse of texture, pattern, and a painterly look. I enjoy designing without the use of a pencil as I struggled with writing and drawing when I was younger and do almost everything in Photoshop.

I approach my work as someone who puts together a collage or montage and a painting simultaneously. As a piece comes together the original pieces of reference material lose their identity and relationship to the initial whole of which they were a part and become part of a seamless new work. I enjoy putting personality into my work and I like to make my work interesting to all ages by incorporating humor, fear, weirdness and invoking significant memories in the viewer.

I have had some twists and turns and setbacks in my life from the chaos of Schizophrenia. Often I have felt defeated and at one point came close to losing his life by this this terrible disease. A life changing movie came along and gave and still gives me strength, encouragement and inspiration. The movie is “A Beautiful Mind” by Ron Howard, the story of the great mathematician John Nash. Of course many know of the story of Vincent Van Gogh and he too is one of my heroes.

I encourage anyone suffering from mental illness to see the film, to learn as much about their illness as one can and to work as closely and as possible with the best doctors available and to be on the same page regarding their symptoms and medications and how they interact in the dynamic of the relationships one may form with all the caregivers they may have over the course of their life. You can make it. Don't give up.

Mike Johnson