Chris Johansonâ€™s new book, Please Listen I have Something to Tell You About What Is, surveys drawings, paintings, installations and sculptures he completed from 1992â€“2006. Moving chronologically, the book documents how his art progressesâ€” from his beginnings as a street artist in San Francisco to his more recent contemplative work in Portland where he now livesâ€”while some themes and characters stay consistent. Full of colorful geometric shapes, balloon people as well as naked men and women, his simple figures are all busy doing many things, like talking in cartoon speech bubbles, hugging, standing in lines, having sex and contemplating life, and are painted in a näive style that's synonymous with Johanson's work.
Also included are some collaborative pieces that Johanson did with other artists, such as his wife Jo Jackson. Tobin Yelland contributes photos of Johanson dumpster-diving for wood (Johanson has always primarily used found and/or household materials), which he took in San Francisco in 1996. And Cheryl Dunn's photos of a piece she did with Johanson as well as a few of her installation shots round out the edition.
Published by Alleged Press, the imprint of Johansonâ€™s good friend, curator Aaron Rose, Please Listen has been out for a bit but it's a must for any art library. Johanson says, "what I like about the book is that I got to look at it and think about it before I was dead. And I am excited to have a book out with my friend Aaron." One of my favorite parts of the book it Johansonâ€™s "thank you" page. To read it is like putting a puzzle together.
Available through Amazon