Garth Johnson

Garth Johnson on Cross-Cultural Translation, Communing with Secondhand Objects & Generational Shifts in Craft Culture

Posted May 9, 2016 in Blog

making legends into posters

Garth Johnson,”Making Legends into Posters” from the “Proverb Plate Series,” 2010. Sand-blasted found porcelain plate with silver PVD coating. Photo courtesy of artist.

This week, HCCC’s Curatorial Fellow Sarah Darro asked Garth Johnson, Curator of Ceramics at Arizona State University’s Art Museum and Ceramics Research Center and At Your Service artist, questions about his artistic process, his relationship with collecting and craft culture for young audiences.

Sarah Darro: How have you navigated your many roles within the field of craft? As a ceramicist, writer, curator, and professor—is there a position that you identify with most?

Garth Johnson: I grew up on a farm in Nebraska. I was surrounded by handmade things, and making was definitely central to my childhood. I grew up making, then entered college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as an art student because art was what I was generally good at. I should add that I have hands that are very un-talented. I’m not somebody who can pick up a tool or a material and master it easily. I’ve always felt that this was an asset as an educator—I can identify with people who have many different learning styles. The “slippage” between my brain and my hands is what led me to become a writer and curator. 

These days, I identify mainly as a curator. It’s a good thing that there generally isn’t a singular path for curators to embark on—it’s a field that values experience over academic achievement.  Continue Reading »