Featured Artist: Carmen Johnson

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When did you first become interested in art?

I have been drawing and creating for as long as I can remember! My Dad was always quite accomplished at creating caricatures, so I think being slightly in awe of his talents and also having a natural love for creating beautiful things it was always something I loved doing.

How would you describe your design style?

My style is quite graphic, I like lots of bold, flat colour. Since my subject matter often includes food and familiar everyday things I would say it has an element of pop art to it as well.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by a lot of things, often work from other artists both similar and quite different to mine, be it painterly or minimalist. Mostly i’m inspired by the beauty found in everyday things.

What is your favourite piece in your collection?

I always have a fondness for any piece where I get some kind of indulgent food in there! I like the ‘Kool Ice’ & ‘Sweet Heart’  pieces as they remind me of my childhood. My grandparents always had an inexhaustible supply of cakes, ice creams and sweets! All the colours and textures of sweet things always draw me in. Not so good for the diet though!

Is there any artistic talent in your family?

As I mentioned, my Dad was always quite skilled at art but it has only ever been a hobby for him. My Sister studied Fashion Design so we have both always been quite creative siblings! 

I did find out recently that my Dad’s Grandad (my great, great Grandad whom I never met) did actually work as an Illustrator alongside his day job, creating illustrations for local newspapers amongst other things. I was surprised to find this out after so long, but also encouraged and inspired by the news.

What is the journey you take to produce your work?

I typically have an idea and then do some image research. I will then hand-draw with pen and scan this outline into Photoshop and then colour from there. I still enjoy being able to put pen to paper, so really enjoy the mix of traditional and modern techniques I get to use when creating a piece.

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What made you want to be a part of Art Rookie?

One of my old Uni buddies – Ms Wearer had been selling through Art Rookie and she recommended I try it too. I had been considering it for a while but hadn’t quite got round to it. Seeing her work go from strength to strength, and also seeing how great her work looks on the products spurred me on to start creating my own.

When you’re not creating masterpieces what do you enjoy doing?

Living in London I have a lot of great things on my doorstep. I mainly spend my time going to many of the amazing galleries and museums, along with meeting up with friends, eating-out and trying all the new things the city constantly has to offer. 

Have you faced any struggles getting your work noticed?

I think we are living in an exciting time where social media is concerned. It’s an amazing tool and for the most part is free. It can be quite time-consuming though, so my main problem has been not having enough hours in the day! There’s a lot of things i’d like to do in order to get my work out there. Art Rookie has been a great help with this though and keeps me encouraged and motivated.

Where would we find you hanging out in the UK?

I’m currently living in South East London, which I love! There is quite a big community of artists here and whilst being quite green and leafy, it also feels like it’s buzzing with creative energy.cj4

What makes British talent different than elsewhere?

I think all elements of British talent tend to have a bit of a quirky edge, and often a bit of dry humour behind it!

What are your plans for 2016?

I can’t believe we’re already half way though 2016! My plans creatively are to add some more fashion illustration products to my Art Rookie range. I also have a few weddings for close friends coming up which i’m very excited about. I’ve been getting into modern calligraphy more this year and these skills are already being put to good use where wedding invites and gifts are concerned!

www.artrookie.co.uk/carmenjohnson

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