Local artist shares his passion for imagination

Nick Johnson, 33, of Stephens City, stands by his painting titled "Alice Without Wonderland" that he spent 80 hours on to complete. Johnson used acrylic paint and copper leafing on the edges. Rich Cooley/Daily

STEPHENS CITY – For artist Nick Johnson, 33, of Stephens City, standing in front of an easel or over a drawing table is his idea of normality.

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve always drawn,” Johnson said. “All through school I was in an art class or two.”

As a child, Johnson said he discovered his talent with the help of classes that taught him the foundations and principles of art.

While attending Sherando High School, Johnson admitted video games and other activities took over most of his free time and, to much to his dismay, caused him to put his paintbrushes to the side.

“I was distracted,” Johnson said. “At that age what kid isn’t”?

This is Nick Johnson's creatoi using graphite and colored pencil. Rich Cooley/Daily

Last year, Johnson picked up a paintbrush for the first time in awhile because he said inspiration was bombarding him.

“Inspiration comes from all different directions,” Johnson said. “I take and use what I’m given.”

His most current collection, inspired by the fantasy world of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll follows Alice as she falls through the rabbit hole, but in a more modern sense.

“I wanted to picture her more modern day,” Johnson said. “What Alice might of gone through during this day and age if she had told people about her experiences in Wonderland.”

Fans of Carroll know the story of Alice quite well. She falls through a rabbit hole into a magical world known as Wonderland where she has tea with a Mad Hatter, meets a garden of talking flowers and befriends a Cheshire cat. When she returns from Wonderland Alice is faced with the question of actuality versus fantasy.

Nick Johnson works on one of his paintings. Rich Cooley/Daily

“The series is a commentary on psychology,” Johnson said.

His first canvas, titled “Alice,” is of Alice facing her demons. Details include an hourglass portraying the loss of time as Alice’s enemy as it keeps ticking away, playing cards and a hidden Mad Hatter, introducing the second canvas in Johnson’s series.

When asked what inspired his color choices Johnson said there were three reasons: “I wanted to keep it connected to its 1800s roots, so I used shades of browns and yellows in part to look like a sepia tone photo from that time period.”

His second reason was because each canvas will focus on a primary color. The “Mad Hatter” will be a collection of blues and silver tones to “emphasize the modern medicine aspect.” The final piece in the series, currently untitled, will be shades of yellow.

Over the years Johnson has studied a wide variety of media and mediums, including acrylic painting, but he said he favors graphite drawing the most. Drawings include famous singers and actors.

“An imagination aspect is more telling,” Johnson said.

To inquire about his art, email Johnson at mindmatterart0@gmail.com