Columbus Makes Art Presents Lance Johnson on the Celebration of Urban Life
Lance Johnson is a Bronx-born mixed-media artist who recently relocated to Columbus. He uses his work as a vehicle for urban development and a celebration of the diversity of the urban landscape. Lance will be live painting at BAM Thursdays on July 22 at the Columbus Museum of Art. We chatted with Lance about his creative process, what’s inspiring him these days and what he loves most about Columbus.
Lauren: Your work has so much energy. Walk us through how you build a piece.
Lance: I’m inspired by the energy, movement and vibrance of the urban landscape. For me, it’s all about layers. The foundation is the graffiti-style words I use. I activate the canvas with words of inspiration. Like walls I would see in New York, layers of old graffiti mixing with new graffiti and torn posters and remnants of urban decay. I try to recreate the textures and layers of depth in each piece I create.
Lauren: Where have you been finding your inspiration this past year?Lance: This year has taught us all the values of community and inspirational imagery. I’ve been fortunate to transfer my artistic expression online through workshops. Working with young kids and being inspired by their dedication to creating despite insane times has truly been incredibly motivational to me.
Lauren: What’s on your playlist right now?
Lance: Music is so important to my artistic practice. I take my playlists seriously! I always have some jazz (Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Robert Glasper) and hip hop (Tribe Called Quest, J Cole, Kendrick, Jay-Z). I mix in some instrumentals (J Dilla, Black Milk and Hi-Tek).
Lauren: Tell us about your upcoming creative projects.
Lance: I have a few things I’m excited about. I’m live painting at BAM on Thursday, July 22 at the Columbus Museum of Art, I’m doing Scrawl 15 this August, which should be really dope. Really looking forward to a solo exhibit at Streetlight Guild at the end of August. Also doing Summer Spray in the Short North in September. Beginning of 2022, I will be curating my first show. I’m super excited about that! It will be at the McConnell Arts Center in Worthington.
Lauren: What is the best thing about the Columbus art scene right now?
Lance: The best thing about the Columbus art scene is how collaborative it is. I love how connected the art organizations are and how much synergy there is. It’s such a tight knit community and it’s so refreshing. I’m all about connecting and building each other up so it’s perfect for me.
Lauren: Where can people find your work?
Lance: I’m on the socials… Instagram (@lanceljart), Facebook (@lanceljayart) and I’m starting to get into this TikTok thing (@ljartlife7). Also my website is Ljartlife.com.
Experience artists creating live every week at Columbus Museum of Art’s BAM Thursdays, with Lance appearing at the July 22 edition.
Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting and advancing the arts and cultural fabric of Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art. Learn more about local artists, organizations, public art and events at ColumbusMakesArt.com.