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Meet Johnny Smith in Los Feliz

Today we’d like to introduce you to Johnny Smith.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have always had the desire to share a story – preferably screenplays and sketches with a comedic flair to them. So, naturally, I went to school for theater and film. Discouraged and impatient with the amount of time, steps and collaborative dependency that came with it, however, I sought another medium to story-tell.

Enter collage making! Through digital collage, I was able to create an image (comedic, provocative or otherwise) all by myself and then share that visual story immediately with whomever I wanted. I didn’t need to rent a theater with social media as my venue. Instagram became my white cube. Instant gratification!

Recently, I’ve circled back to my original creative medium. I’ve been getting back into writing and am currently developing a cartoon show with some artist friends. I feel compelled to exercise my writing muscle, but will always continue making digital collages, as it has transformed from creative outlet to cathartic exercise, helping me to decompress and deal with life’s daily stresses.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I think my greatest struggle has been for my content to be taken seriously! As silly as my collages are (and are intended to be), some deal with real issues, both social and political. This can lead to adversity and anger with followers of mine that think and believe differently. I’ve had to learn not to take vitriolic comments towards my work personally, but instead see them as a positive: my artwork inspires strong dissidence and discussion. Who wants to create stale, humdrum “meh” art? Not me.

It’s also been a struggle to be taken seriously as an artist – having my work valued beyond the digital sphere, and instead framed and hung on gallery walls. It’s taken about half of a decade for me to get where I am today in the art world. I’ve now had exhibitions in multiple galleries, designed covers and editorials for magazines, but it took time to get here. Good things come to those who wait…and wait and wait and wait…

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I wouldn’t allow myself to be discouraged by others’ reactions to the content I create, no matter how it might challenge what they think. It’s healthy to be provocative and rock the proverbial boat.

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