The Art of Stephen Robert Johns


Galeria Nacional Museo de los Ninos San Jose, Costa Rica
May 2012

Sebastian Mello 
Director, Galeria Nacional 

Stephen Robert Johns 

Curator Statement

“Over the past fifteen years, my work has been inspired from the aerial views from the airplane, of the geography below, while flying to and from my destinations. These inspirations began as a child, being driven in the family car by my father and mother, from Los Angeles to Sacramento CA, to visit my grandparents. I was amazed at seeing the endless perspective of crop rows in Central California.

From 1996-2011, that same fascination was rekindled, while flying over California's San Joaquin Valley, the Pacific Northwest, the Mid-west farm lands, Japan & Korea's raw topography and while flying over Central America, observing nature-carved lands, the geometric patterns of man-made cities, crops and interlocking farm lands.

What transpired from these aerial view experiences was an artist going from a studio draughtsman, laying out compositions on canvas and paper, to an artist in an airplane, rapidly trying to interpret and capture view upon view of the landscape 30,000 feet below. These broad view compositions of the earth related enormously to my hardedge, geometric style of field-color study.

Drawings on air sickness bags, at first out of necessity, since my sketch books were in my checked in luggage, became a standard medium for my aerial view drawing, mainly because I liked the feel of using a ballpoint ink pen on these bags. I also found the air sickness bags to be a statement of the times, hardly ever used for air sickness, having the same basic design for decades, but always there for an emergency. Only now am I beginning to see them disappear from the airline's seat pockets.

Since 1996, I have amassed over 300 drawings on air sickness bags. Each drawing was a created as a study for topography-inspired, geometric canvas and paper paintings, back in my studio, in Los Angeles CA and in San Jose Costa Rica.”

Click here for Vistas desde El Avion Postcard


  The Art of Stephen Robert Johns