Johnson received a BA in photography from Columbia College in Chicago and studied for his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His practice quickly expanded to embrace a wide range of media—including sculpture, painting, drawing, filmmaking, and installation—yielding a complex multidisciplinary practice that incorporates diverse materials rich with symbolism and personal history.
Johnson’s work is known for its narrative embedding of a pointed range of everyday materials and objects, often associated with his childhood and frequently referencing aspects of history and cultural identity. Many of Johnson’s more recent works delve into existential themes such as personal and collective anxiety, interiority, and liminal space.
To date, Johnson has incorporated elements, materials or items as diverse as CB radios, shea butter, literature, record covers, gilded rocks, black soap and tropical plants. Many of Johnson’s works convey rhythms of the occult and mystic: evoking his desire to transform and expand each included object’s field of association in the process of reception.