Gregory Alan Johnson at Stella’s: an Emerging Artist at the Age of 68
It seems improbable. Is there such a thing as a late bloomer? Does someone at age 68 have anything of value to give to our culture? Well…
Gregory Alan Johnson was born in Euclid, Ohio, in 1954 and spent his youth growing up in Brook Park. At an early age, Gregory loved to doodle. He loved it so much that it developed into somewhat of an obsession. Over the years, Gregory got quite good at doodling, and upon graduating high school, he got a job at a gas station to save money for art school. In 1974 he was accepted by Cooper School of Art in Cleveland (Now defunct, it went out of business in the late ’80s). Although the training was top-notch and most of the teachers were excellent, Gregory left after about a year and a half feeling uninspired and disappointed, with a vague feeling that he wasn’t really an artist. He recollects, “In retrospect, I think it was a combination of laziness and immaturity; I just didn’t know what I wanted.”
After leaving Cooper, Gregory got married and began to raise a family, working a day job and doing occasional freelance illustration. It was during this time that he started doodling again, using felt-tip markers on Bristol board, items that he used for illustration layouts. “I began to see patterns in these drawings,” he says, “and using my training and experience, such that it was, I followed these patterns and an idea would emerge.” These drawings began to pile up. “They were reflections of an inner world: joy, sadness, rage, angst…they spoke to me.” He gradually realized that he had found his muse. Now what?
“I didn’t know what to do with them. I wouldn’t show them to anyone outside of friends and family. Too weird, too personal.” It wasn’t until people started to give him positive feedback—people who were often artists and art students—that he realized the drawings might be shown to a wider audience.
So upon retirement Gregory did just that. His work has been shown in galleries in the Columbus, Ohio, area, and he recently completed a solo show at Stella’s Gallery in Willoughby.
Yes, there is such a thing as a late bloomer. He wasn’t ready back then. He is now. “Looks like I’ve grown up,” he says with a smile.
Gregory’s art can be viewed online (gregoryalanart.com), on Instagram (@gregoryalanart), on Facebook (@GregoryAlanArt), and on Twitter (@GregoryAlanArt).
STELLA’S ART GALLERY
38033 Euclid Ave
Willoughby, Ohio 44094