Iskra Johnson

 Iskra Johnson ( explains, "Throughout my work I explore impermanence as it occurs in the urban landscape and in nature. My architectural prints and mixed media pieces focus on the radical reshaping of the built landscape through gentrification and de-industrialization. As we are confronted with change and our relationship to it, I am interested in the question of how much of the past we value and hold onto, and how much we let go to make the future our “now.” My work lives on the edge between nostalgia and accommodation, mediating through the elements of surface and iconic structure to a conversation about history, identity and sense of place. I use photography, digital composition, printmaking, mixed media and collage, shifting media as needed to suit my subject matter."

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Iskra Johnson

What art do you most identify with?

I like art that reveals phenomena: how paint and dirt on a wall have something in common, how the artifice of a painting can reflect reality with just one seemingly incidental overlap of transparent and opaque. Materiality, gesture, and content: married.

How do you describe your work and how do you talk to a potential buyer? Give us the elevator pitch.  

My work is deeply humanistic. It is about being here, right now, in the crazy, destabilizing times we are living in, and finding a leg to stand on. I combine my background in Asian art with contemporary media and digital imaging to create a hybrid: contemplative, reflective and challenging work that doesn’t apologize for its beauty.

Where can people find you hanging out?

Construction sites, or sitting with a book by the pond in my garden.

If you could own a work of art by any living artist, what would it be (or whose)?

I would like to have a drawing by Jim Dine. One of those breath-taking odes to tools, where marks become things, and you can hear the screws turning.

What is your favorite museum in Seattle?

I favor the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park. I like to visit the collection of Chinese snuff bottles which haven’t moved since sometime in the 1930’s and the lacquer bust of a monk with its unreturnable gaze and lose myself in timeless time.

What are some things you'd like to change about the arts community here in Seattle? 

I really love the arts community right now. What I’d like to see is more interplay with the tech community. I’d like to see regular rotating residencies provided to artists to create work at Tableau, Amazon, Microsoft and other companies, bringing art and contemplation into the tech world while inviting collaboration between artists and the tech and business environment.


Solo Exhibitions:

  • Zeitgeist, “Excavations: The Big Dig & Other Stories,” (Seattle, Washington)

Group Exhibitions:

  • Seattle Art Museum Gallery, “Contemporary Printmakers,” (Seattle, Washington)
  • Museo Gallery, “Garden Show,” (Langley, Washington)
  • Linda Hodges Gallery, “Seattle Seen,” (Seattle, Washington)
  • Anacortes Arts Festival, “Arts at the Port,” (Anacortes, Washington)
  • Linda Hodges Gallery, “Making & Breaking,” (Seattle, Washington)

Permanent Collections:

  • Group Health Cooperative (Seattle)
  • King County Portable Works (Seattle)