Clare Johnson

(Seattle) Artist Website Artist-in-Residence August Residency Year: 2017


Clare Johnson is a visual artist and writer, originally from Seattle. For her writing, Johnson has received the Michael S. Harper Poetry Prize, June Dodge Fellowship at Mineral School and a Jack Straw Fellowship. Publications include Poetry Northwest, Shake The Tree, Raven Chronicles, cover art for two books, and authoring DK Publishing’s 2017 book How to Draw (Penguin Random House). 

Her art exhibitions include Guy’s Hospital in London, where her 35-drawing project about childhood asthma is permanently displayed. Other major projects include Drawing from Literature (a growing series of art inspired by favorite books), for which she received an Artist Trust grant and a project done while at her Surel’s Place residency; Roses, a 2014 book pairing her set of 27 drawings with poems by Rainer Maria Rilke; and a 2017 production of Our Town combining handmade drawings, painting, and erasure poems written from Thornton Wilder’s script into gesture-responsive animations on a giant 360-degree screen-wrapping around the audience. 

Her Post-it Note Project (drawing and writing on a post-it note every night to remember something from the day) has been featured in Real Change, Seattle Weekly and Seattle Magazine. The Seattle Review of Books posts weekly excerpts from the over 4,000 post-its she’s made so far, also publishing her monthly series of essays exploring themes behind the art. As a teacher, she founded creative writing classes at London’s Lauderdale House and at Cambridge University Kettle’s Yard, also teaching at Momentum Arts in Cambridge, and Hugo House and Thrive Art School in Seattle. Recent honors include winning grand prize in Allied Arts Foundation’s Emerging Artist Awards, and designing a participatory public art project on a dumpster for a Seattle affordable housing group.

In addition to Johnson’s work on her book Roses while at Surel’s Place, she also led a writing workshop showing how to find inspiration everywhere through unexpected aspects of our surroundings at Surel’s Place.