October: Clare Johnson, Visual

Clare Johnson, October’s artist-in-residence at Surel’s Place, is a rare applicant in that she submitted two applications: one for writing and one for visual art. A talented writer, Ms. Johnson also creates painstakingly detailed illustrations using dip pens. Our panelists reviewed both of her applications favorably, and though her current residency here is for visual art, the connection to literature is strong.

She began developing a large series of ink drawings based on favorite works of literature back in 2011, when she made 3 book-inspired drawings for a group show at ArtEast in Issaquah, WA. These works grew into 20, resulting in larger exhibitions at Seattle’s Richard Hugo House and the Storefronts Seattle program. A grant from Artist Trust enabled her to make it halfway to her goal of 50 works based on different pieces of literature. Now, she hopes the time allotted to her at Surel’s Place will bring her even closer to her goal.

In many ways, Ms. Johnson’s treatment of text in her art is also how she views her residency at Surel’s Place. Her work is not pure illustration; it is about freeing the text from the larger work and allowing it to have an additional life and power of its own. She sees the potential in freeing her time from her larger life and the resulting focus as giving her work additional life and power as well.

Currently based in her native Seattle, Ms. Johnson has lived and worked in England and the United States, but has roots in Idaho. Her mother grew up in Boise, and she made many visits to see grandparents. She has made drawings from books she recalls reading while on summer vacation in Boise. “While this part of my background is a huge inspiration, I have never actually lived there; with all my grandparents passed away, I am only rarely in the area now,” says Ms. Johnson. “I cannot begin to imagine the growth and development that [will] come from living and working there as an adult artist—it {[will] mean things to me that I don’t even know how to describe.”

The Treasure Valley community will have many opportunities to join Ms. Johnson in her process. She will be participating in the First Friday event on October 6th from 5:30pm-8:30pm at the end of her first week of the residency. On Saturday, October 14th she will be a stop on the ArtBike tour as well as being open for visits as part of the 2017 Boise Open Studios Weekend from 10am-6pm. Then, she will lead a workshop on October 21st before the residency culminates in an exhibit and art talk of her progress in “Drawing from Literature” on October 27th.

PUBLIC EVENTS

DRAWING WORKSHOP
IMAGINING SPACE IN TREEHOUSE
Saturday, October 21
1:00pm–3:00pm
Limited to 10 |  registration required
$10 Registration Fee | 
scholarships available

The act of drawing a tree house will give participants the freedom to imagine and create a space for themselves that can be elusive in normal life. It’s a wonderful vehicle for imagination, and also self expression and comfort; the experience can be both meditative and playful. Artist-in-Residence Clare Johnson will help guide workshop attendees through the technical challenges of design, details, and pattern, which become much more accessible and easy to explore through the whimsy of a treehouse. The workshop is appropriate for kids and adults.

 

ART TALK/EXHIBITION
DRAWING FROM LITERATURE
Friday, October 27th
doors at 6:30pm | 7pm presentation
free

ADDITIONAL PUBLIC EVENTS:

FIRST FRIDAY ART EVENT
October 6th
5:30pm-8:30pm
free

ARTBIKE TOUR
Saturday, October 14
2-4:30pm
$10 Ticket

BOSCO OPEN STUDIOS TOUR
Saturday, October 14
10am-6pm
free

 

All events at Surel’s Place: 212 E 33rd St in Garden City