Hello from new co-op student, Kenneth Johnson

When I think of art, I think of a quote by Anthony Mara from his book A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, in which a woman finds a scientific definition of life in a medical encyclopedia. It reads, “Life: a constellation of vital phenomena—organization, irritability, movement, growth, reproduction, adaptation.” Though not specifically relating to any artistic or cultural practices, this quote captures the essence of life, an essence which, to me, is homogeneous with art. The more I examine the two, the more I realize how closely and inextricably they are intertwined.

My name is Kenneth Johnson and I am a grade twelve student at Hamilton District Christian High School. From September 2016 to January 2017, I will be doing my co-op at Hamilton Artists Inc., mainly coordinating the annual members’ exhibition from start to finish. Having been interested in art and the gallery system for quite some time, I was fascinated by the opportunity to learn about how artist-run centres operate and the many facets of contemporary art. My first day at the Inc., the Saturday of Supercrawl, featured Vicky Sabourin’s Warmblood, an installation which explored the connections between the states of life and death, and I instantly felt a connection to her pieces and the gallery itself.

In my own art, my goal is to capture the depth of detail in natural life through photo-realistic coloured pencil and graphite portraits, as well as to explore mystical, otherworldly landscapes in the form of oil paintings. My style is continuously evolving as my inspirations evolve, but the underlying principal of my work is the fragility of life and death, which, looking back, is likely what drew me to Warmblood.

Over the past few years, I’ve seen the art community in Hamilton blossom. It’s an incredible place of culture and creativity, and I can’t wait to see what is in store this fall and beyond!

*Image: Vicky Sabourin, Warmblood (installation view), 2016

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