Henry R Johnson was born on January 26, 1996 to Blair Eric Johnson and Lori Leanne Rhode in Denver, CO. At the age of three his family moved to Indianapolis, IN where he is currently working as a visual artist. His love for drawing was first put on display, as his aunt recalls it, when he drew a large eagle with chalk on the sidewalk near a family home.
In high school Henry's creative influences came in large part from a subscription to Juxtapoz Magazine and skateboard culture. Henry didn't skateboard but, he was fascinated with the aesthetics of the subculture. Naturally this interest expanded to subcultures related to skateboarding: tattoo art and graffiti/street art. These influences, especially tattoo art, inform Henry's creative practice to this day.
In his early 20's, Henry is wrapping up his college career at the Herron School of Art + Design. He is working for a Drawing/Illustration BFA. "Hobo Wizard" was his senior thesis exhibition at the Murphy Arts Center in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Hobo Wizard: Artist Statement
The “Hobo Wizard” is the culmination of the best of all that I have thought, done, and learned throughout my BFA program. My studies have led me to new worldviews and set my artistic practice upon new impulses. Over these last four years my artistic practice has been refined both in medium and technique, and throughout this adventure I have found a greater appreciation for traditional media and found the beautiful in the sublimity of the brush stroke.
The Hobo Wizard is a symbolic character, an archetype, that embodies the essence of all that I have sought to do.
Employing this representation of myself in my drawings, I hope to build an intertext between the things I imagine. With this context in mind, I invite the viewer to embark with me on an investigation of the mind. Contemplate the primordial structures of the world and consider: what is history? what is life? what is the heart and what does it feel? These are the questions that have guided this series. Looking back, it is apparent to me that in this project I have found higher ideals: the pursuit of wisdom and a connection with the divine.
Henry R Johnson, BFA Drawing/Illustration, 2019.