Figurative, portraits, landscape, seascapes, street scenes and still life and florals are all genres in which celebrated contemporary artist, Marvin Johnson more than professionally dabbles it’s fair to say, and art specialisms which he’s acknowledged and respected for his work within. Ashington, situated in Northumberland, England is where Johnson hails from, and from being born in the former mining town in 1966, where he still resides, practising his art today. 1966 being apt, as fellow Ashington old boys – and England footballers of yore – Jackie and Bobby Charlton were also born there, as was Newcastle United goal-scoring legend, Jackie Milburn, whilst England cricketer, Steve Harmison was also from there originally.
To art though, and Johnson’s passion for art was ignited by his father, who apparently was an exceedingly gifted artist who showed huge potential from a young age, yet never had the opportunity to realise his talent or nurture and evolve it in a professional capacity due to over career choices made during his youth. However having inherited his father’s talent for art, Johnson Jnr was determined that he would do all that he could to follow this path, and to fully exploit his skillset in honour of his father’s sacrifices at the very least. Johnson displayed the necessary promise, which was backed up by his eagerness to learn and challenge himself within artistic disciplines, with his primary school first acknowledged his creative worth by awarding him ‘Best Artist’ in school. After completion of his secondary schooling, Johnson opted to enrol on a three year Graphic Design course, after which he followed this up with a degree course in Technical Illustration, Photography and Art History from Sunderland Polytechnic (as was then).
Unfortunately Johnson believed that this more formal route restricted his artistic freedom and expression, and grew increasingly frustrated by what he adjudged to be technical constraints and limiters within this higher educational sphere, and eventually quit his course of study prematurely. In the aftermath of this Johnson took it upon himself to teach himself how to paint in oils in his spare time, while he found full-time employment in the electronics industry to support himself. And support himself he did, as his day job funded countless trips to many of Europe’s great art galleries, which proved to be the ideal inspiration for the budding fine artist who wished to immerse himself in every branch of artistic expression and to eventually operate in a creative discipline with no boundaries or limitations to scope.
Moving on in terms of his 9 – 5 vocation – and growing ever closer to a related environment - Johnson sought employment in a picture framers for three years, whilst all the time developing and honing his skills as a painter, before finally launching himself as a full-time professional artist and realising something that his father never could. Today Johnson enjoys a far-reaching range of genres as we hinted at from the outset; however his favourite medium in which to ply his creative trade as such is without question, figurative work and portraiture. As testament to his attributes in this area, Johnson’s recent portrait of the late Sir Bobby Robson helped raise significant funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation Cancer Charity, formed in his native North East.
Johnson’s art has found homes in a host of private collections, both here in the UK as well as on distant horizons in South Africa and America, while a raft of local and regional galleries have also represented and commercially championed Johnson’s back catalogue courtesy of exhibitions to date. Contemporary art industry awards have also been accomplished, with Johnson having lifted an award from International Artist Magazine for his ‘Sleeping Tulips’ still life study, a painting which was also reproduced in the International Artist Annual’s, ‘100 Ways to Paint Still Life and Florals’ guide.