“In my art, I attempt to express not only aesthetic issues, but social, moral, and spiritual ones as well. My work is concerned with life and existence in the inner city… The inner-city landscape I depict is both map and metaphor for the actual landscape and the contents of the collective unconscious.
I note and am impressed by the various makeshift structures I find in the urban environment. Newsstands, garden shacks and the temporary shelters made of cardboard, tin and/or wood, made by people without tools or homes. Structures shaped by necessity, with available materials and improvisation; where everything may be off a few degrees, but still work.”
Summary Of Spring Residence
Leroy’s residency was a huge and totally unpredictable success. More than most artists, Leroy Johnson’s work comes from and reflects his surroundings. The pieces in his Philadelphia studio are totally urban, often including found materials and always mirroring the sights and sounds and themes that make up Philadelphia. During his two-part residency (Leroy elected to have two weeks in the spring and to return for one week in the fall of 2017), Leroy completed several water colors, pastels drawings, and mixed media works. All the works were dramatically different from his creations in Philadelphia.
The images are of the fields, the trees, and the farm’s out buildings. One major focus are the birds of the area. Leroy attracted the birds by leaving pieces of peanuts on the rail of the Artbarn’s porch. Eventually, one of the birds became a daily visitor, sometimes accompanied by his spouse. Leroy’s works capture this bird and the artist’s clear fondness for his visitor. In the fall of 2017, Leroy will focus on using native clay, creating a kiln, and producing three-dimensional works.
Art Created at the Art Barn
Barn Swallow on Log #1
Barn Swallow on Log #2
Bird with Food
Equipment Storage Shed
Summary Of Fall Residence
The Board will consider how best to use what Leroy learned and can offer from his experiences. Should he be a member of an advisory board? Should he return to continue the relationship with members of the local community? The local arts groups? Perhaps these and other alternatives will make the most of the time he has already had and the enthusiasm he has developed and created.
I think the biggest lesson learned is as follows: it is critically important to be able to adjust the residency as opportunities arise and as individual artists influence the situation. It is my hope that we can continue to do so with all residents and in all instances.