Born in 1981
Lives and works in Los Angeles
His website: https://www.dane-johnson.net/
INTERVIEW WITH DANE JOHNSON by Beatrice Chassepot
BCh : You do wall painting, drawings on paper, collages, acrylic on canvas, which kind do you like the most and why?
Dane Johnson : My materials usually are chosen based on what fits the subject matter best. I don’t have a favorite though I use a lot of gouache. Gouache has always appealed to me because there is a great organic quality that allows me to be pretty intuitive when I paint with it.
BCh : when do you think a series is completed?
Dane Johnson : It is a mixture of deadlines and exploration. Sometimes a series being done is as easy as a show opening and needing to get the work up on the wall and sometimes there is a need to keep exploring the subject matter. Every project is different. I just put the lottery ticket series to rest and it feels ok. I don’t have any pieces in my head that are bugging me to get out but that can change. I guess a series is never totally finished because there is always that chance that I will wake up and have a new question about the work that needs to be asked of it. Then it is back to the drawing board.
BCh: tell us more about the Lotto tickets series, why did you choose those tickets?
Dane Johnson: The tickets were all found on the ground in my Hollywood neighborhood. They had been discarded after revealing themselves as losers. I had collected thousands over the course of a few years. The conceptual work of the project is found in the collecting, painting and display of the tickets. The choice of which tickets to paint was mostly an aesthetic decision. The fonts, scratch marks, language and color all factored in. A painting like SPICY HOT TRIPLER was chosen because it was the most gaudy ticket I had collected. It has a great TexMex theme going on that really spoke to the outrageous design sensibility that is found in the all lottery tickets. Alternatively, a ticket like replay was chosen because of the decay of the ticket. It has a really interesting surface filled with marks that had been made by its time spent floating around on the streets. The scratch marks are important because they tell a story that is found in the act of scratching off the ticket. Some of the marks are very deliberate and quick. Some marks are thourough and searching. In presenting the paintings I tried to have a balance of images that presented a cross section of what you would find on the street.
BCh: Why did you title the newsprint and gouache series made of collage “STARTING NEVER STOPING”
Dane Johnson: I am interested in the idea that once an image is put out into the world it has an infinite lifespan as it enters into some kind of visual collective consciousness.
The title Starting Never Stopping was a way to describe the idea of sending an image off on this never ending journey. Everyday the pictures in the newspaper are replaced by a new batch of pictures in the next days paper. I love newspapers as source material because it allows me to highlight imagery that is often ignored in the moment and forgotten about in time. In making these collages I am marking the moment where I intertwine my life with the life of the image just as it goes out into the world.
BCh: “Sunday, sunday sunday” (above) is a work on paper, can you make a lecture of it?
Dane Johnson: Over the course of three Sundays I made paintings of the front pages of each section of the New York Times resulting in 21 small ink and gouache paintings on paper. Each painting includes an acronym of the main headline found on the page, a selection of each image found on the page painted in black ink and my response to the imagery painted in red. The paintings try to stay true to the original layout of the page. In presenting the newspaper pages as paintings the informative nature of the newspaper is adjusted in a way that allowed me to engage with it in a more open ended way.
October 12th, 2011