Saving the environment is not a new issue. We are confronted with this obstacle everyday. Recycling has become a habit that many of us have adopted, and reducing our carbon footprint is something that many of us strive for. Courtney Adair Johnson has taken this one step further and shows us that works of art can be made from things that are discarded on a daily basis.
What is the theme of your work?
I base everything I do off of the recycling and repurposing of material. Awareness is a big theme that keeps coming up in my work, awareness of what we use on a day to day basis and what happens to these items afterwards. Instead of mindlessly throwing things away or consuming thoughtlessly, being conscious of what we touch and use. I am always looking for material to be saved, things that are disregarded or abandoned.
I see the potential in material. Oftentimes, I let the material dictate what is made and let ideas develop around what the material once was or was left to be. I do enjoy playing with color, a sense of fun while taking on the weighty issues of materialism and excess.
What inspires you to do your work?
Waste. Mmmm sort of but more like sharing my passion for recycling with people inspires me to do what I do. Working the past eight years in an art supply store, seeing the amount of materials that was used in packaging, products come wrapped six or seven times before we use them and everyone wants them in a bag! Ugg. I started realizing that the package material could be used as art supplies instead of being thrown away or recycled. I no longer felt wasteful in creating art and had a mission or manifesto. I set rules also that really inspires me.
What are the goals for your work?
I am interested in social practice, involving the community. Creating hands-on experiences with reuse, presenting questions and answers regarding our recycling habits, working to create consciousness with art. Also with Nashville changing so fast I am interested in our history. I am very intrigued by some of our older buildings and preservation awareness like the Nashville 9. I am exploring residencies opportunities and want continue to show my work on a local level, while looking at other possibilities around the country for growth. I am curating my first show in December and intrigued with continuing to working with other like minded artist.
What are your thoughts on the Nashville Art Scene?
I think the possibilities for growth in the Nashville Art Scene are endless. I think there are a lot of awesome artists in town, there is also a lot of great new energy coming in. All of the growth that Nashville is experiencing will open up and inspire all kinds of possibilities that can only benefit our art scene. My first reaction to change is not necessarily positive. I like old and used, so all the new shiny buildings are hard for me to grasp. I really hope we as a city will remember to hold on to our roots as we embrace the future of our Nashville.