Jessica Kennedy

Las Vegas native Kim Johnson lives her destiny by creating art

Arts Guide Summer 2014 - Kim JohnsonKim Johnson , one of the most intriguing artists in Las Vegas, is also one of our least well-known. Her present body of work should be seen and experienced. Its bold, unique, earthy, surreal versus treality style is something that many artists work their entire careers to achieve and never quite solidly hit the mark as well. A spiritual, centered, grounded, ecologically minded artist with a whimsical flair, she is destined to be an artist to keep watching.

At age 10, the native Las Vegan started an art group in her neighborhood. An enterprising young lady, her art group met a few times a week to create art which they sold to their neighbors for a nickel each. She was the president and they had a very corporate-style structure although, by her own admission, she’s not entirely certain where they got the idea to have officers. Pooling their resources seemed to work for them and definitely kept her passion ignited for art while fuelling this fire with her neighborhood friends.

“I know I’m lucky that I get to do what I love, full time. Not every artist gets this opportunity.”
Johnson attended high school at both Rancho and Western where she had strong influences from her art instructors who helped her to retain her curiosity about the world around her through the eyes of an artist. It was this curiosity that lead her to pursue environmental science in college. One of her favorite things was to collect and, of course, draw bugs. Of all the things in nature, she was most fascinated with them. She was constantly exploring and growing artistically so the natural progression to obtaining her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas was a logical step. She went on to spend fifteen years in conservation—one of only four women in the state at the time to work in this field—and this strong, organic influence can be seen in her art today.

Kim Johnson - ArtistWhen viewing her art, even without the knowledge that she’d spent so much time in nature, it’s evident. From the very flow of her pieces to the mixed media choices she’d made artistically; this strong influence permeates and resonates in everything. Even the shapes of her artwork is atypical and organic, opting for something other than exclusively straight edges on many of her works.

Since 2008, Johnson has lived her life as a full time artist. “I know I’m lucky that I get to do what I love, full time. Not every artist gets this opportunity.” Presently she has an art show hanging in Blackbird Studios located at 1551 S. Commerce St. and in 2015 she has plans to show at the Winchester Cultural Center. “A tremendous amount of work goes into each piece, it isn’t just sticking things on a canvas and hoping it works. It’s planning, learning, growing and it’s a process. Sure I enjoy it but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t valid as work.
I just happen to love my job: making art.”

Her plans for her artistic future include remaining a full time artist along with exploring Sedona, Ariz. and San Francisco within the coming year. She plans to visit Wyoming on an extended vacation, see what there is to see, experience all she can and learn every step of the way. Her extended plans include international travel to gain more influences and knowledge she can incorporate into her art. With such strong, organic influences already present in her art, Kim Johnson’s work will grow and expand as she continues on her ethereal, artistic journey through this life.

Jessica KennedyMother, instructor, entrepreneur, graphic designer, philanthropist and writer; Jessica Kennedy, a Midwestern native, participates with several local philanthropic organizations including the Las Vegas Hospitality Association, the Clark County Artists Guild, College of Southern Nevada Foundation Gala Committee, Metro Arts Council and Blackbird Arts, Inc./Blackbird Studios.

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