Q&A with Resident Artist Carl Johnson

Posted November 3, 2021 in Blog

HCCC recently interviewed current resident Carl Johnson, who works in the medium of fiber arts and specializes in weaving with thin-gauge metal. Make sure to visit his studio before his residency ends at the end of this month! (November, 2021).

Carl Johnson sitting at loom

Carl Johnson in his studio at HCCC. Photo by: Katy Anderson.

HCCC: Why were you interested in this residency program?

Carl Johnson: I would say that, in large part, it was the interaction with the public and the ability to have an open-door studio. I could have dialogue with the public, who may have never met an artist before, or who maybe were an artist themselves and were interested in what other people are doing. By having my own studio, I could also work and explore my work with no restrictions. The location also appealed to me. I hadn’t spent much time in Houston, and it’s exciting to learn a new city.

I also like that it’s not a museum where things are just on the wall, but where the public can see who is behind the art. I like giving insights into my work, and sharing what I do with other people.

Carl Johnson working at the loom. Photo by Katy Anderson.

HCCC: How did you become a weaver?

Carl Johnson: I went to college to study textile design for fashion and upholstery. The program required me to take a weaving class, so I took it as quickly as possible. I wanted to get it over with, so I could get back to digital textile designs. I ended up loving it, so much so that I studied both weaving and design through college. After graduation, I decided to focus solely on weaving.

What’s interesting is that I didn’t know art school was a thing when I was in high school, until my art teacher told me I was going to go to art school. They then gave me a list of schools to look at so that I could pursue the arts.



Carl Johnson, “Untitled,” 2020. Medium: Cotton and 24 Gauge Steel Wire. Photo courtesy of the artist.

HCCC: What attracted you to weaving with metals?

CJ: I had done a weaving project early on using really thin-gauge wire. I didn’t think much of it at the time but revisited the idea months later. I had a really ambitious idea to weave a 25-yard-long piece of fiber, with wire in both the warp and weft. I didn’t know it was even possible to weave something that long on the loom I was working on at the time. After finishing that piece, I had become more comfortable working with wire and decided I wanted to explore it in more depth, jumpstarting my career weaving with metals.

Carl Johnson in his studio at HCCC. Photo by Katy Anderson.

HCCC: Where are you from?

CJ: Washington, D.C.

HCCC: What do you like best about living in Houston so far?

CJ: I’d say how diverse of a community there is, that I have met through the Center and through playing ultimate frisbee. I love how accepting and inclusive these two groups can be.

HCCC: What did you find the most different from where you’ve lived before?

CJ: The most different thing is probably the traffic!

HCCC: Flour or corn tortillas?

CJ: Flour.

HCCC: If you could be a dinosaur, what would you be?

CJ: Do I have to be able to spell it? No? Then a pterodactyl.

To learn more about Carl Johnson’s artwork, visit his website.

Your support of the Annual Fund makes it possible for HCCC to host artists like Carl, and to provide them with monthly stipends, studio access, and professional development, among many other benefits. Please consider a donation today.