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Born in 1957 in Toronto, Ontario, Mark Johnson moved with his family to Brantford, Ontario at the age of 11. Always a deep reader, as well as showing a strong interest in the visual arts, Mark would bike around and about this small southwestern Ontario city in search of the perfect place to bring a book, or go exploring the countryside and the Grand River watershed that runs through it.
Accepting an entrance scholarship to the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at York University in Toronto, Mark spent 2 years there before leaving to go travelling across Canada. He started a family in Brantford and spent the next 25 years focussed on his family and his work in the print industry. Ongoing college and gallery studio courses supplemented his Graphic Art professional training.
When his children became more independent Mark knew it was time to express his artistic talents. He began to exhibit in local juried art shows.
A change in family circumstance brought Mark to Toronto, starting afresh with his new partner in a dedicated pursuit of his creative vision. Mark continues to explore the contours and roots of his environment using his unique eye and sense of wonder and whimsy.
Cycles, with their beginnings, growth and interrelationships, are important to both discover and share. My art contains an abiding curiosity about the evolution of cycles. It is a pleasure to be engaged in drawing out and sharing connections seen with the mind’s eye. I constantly wonder where things came from, what is within them and what they will become. As a child, I would hug a tree and try to see right inside of the trunk – eyes closed, visualizing the roots and sensing the flex and sway in the wind – awakened to its solid longevity and cyclical renewal. I often use Woman as my creative template because of her undeniable innate beauty and power – She is a time-immemorial symbolic reservoir of strength and renewal, of cycles, of magic and knowledge, of learning, of relationships and of transformation.
My everyday world is filtered through eyes which are marked by a condition known as antimetropia – where one eye is nearsighted and the other farsighted. This physical trait allows me to see images which are out of conscious awareness for most people. These images drive my curiosity to understand what I see, where things begin and end. Creating a piece of art allows me to share my thoughts and my visions, to discover and tell a wider story.
I love to follow the unexpected journeys my art takes me on. Wonder, alongside witnessing and whimsy, are core values in my work. I remain that fascinated child, only now with a process for exploring my endless questions. Sometimes I just have fun.