aka MR. J
“Art is such a conversational kind of medium; there’s an infinite amount of interpretations to it – visual contemporary art is especially unique in that way,” Daniel Johnson, a self-made, multimedia artist, comments on the experience that viewing art brings to both individuals and the masses. Whether you find his creative expression in the smoothly blended, dark tones of a “Mr. J” charcoal piece, or in the designs of his most recent success “MOST iNFLUENTIAL ART Magazine,” there’s no denying that Johnson has a passion for connection within the art world.
From a young age, Johnson simply knew he would become an artist. “I came out the womb drawing! As a kid, I think everybody is fairly creative, but as they grow older, they tend to move on to other things and stop doing those creative activities; I didn’t do that, I kept drawing.” As he continued to upgrade from crayons to pastels, onto gold leaf and even digital art, Johnson’s work began to truly take on an identity of its own. Throughout his young adult life, Johnson would create for friends and commission freelance work. It wasn’t until about five years ago, when he fought through a near death experience, that Johnson really changed his life to focus fully on his art.
“As negative of a moment in my life as that experience was, it was actually one of the best things to have happened to me; it made me really look at what was important to me, made me get introspective,” Johnson expresses, looking back on the experience that catalyzed where he is today. This shift in perspective was one that not only changed the direction of his life, but also inspired one of his most recent art series “Return to the Transcendent,” a charcoal and gold series highlighting the idea that an innate nature of being human is overcoming dark circumstances, transcending to become something else entirely.
“Most art is a subjective expression of how you feel, how you see the world, and how you communicate that to other people. Specifically, in ‘Return to the Transcendent,’ the concept, the medium and even the choice of lighting is dark. It’s an expression mostly of that time in my life and the concept that people are more; they’re more than just people. There’s something transcendent in the nature of a human being to overcome those kinds of things. Ironically enough, your greatest moment of weakness can wind up being a source of your greatest strength, so that’s why the gold is there, representing that transcendent quality.”
Johnson’s personal artwork, created under the name “Mr. J,” seems to reach out to the viewer, calling them to interact, reflect, and connect to the piece, the artist, and something deeper within themselves. Now, something new emerges from this appropriately titled multimedia artist – “MOST iNFLUENTIAL ART Magazine.” The recent publication, blossoming during the season of COVID, embodies a mission to connect the art community and support budding artists.
“MiA is an amalgamation of like, 15 years of trial and error, messing up as an artist and entrepreneur, failing, almost dying, all of these different experiences that kind of accumulated into something comprehensive that I could utilize, that I felt comfortable enough creating and managing, and that would create this community that surrounded me and others.” Johnson constantly seeks to push out more value with this publication, offering free trials and digital versions of the magazine. The process has not only helped highlight and connect other creatives, but has pushed Johnson to work harder and smarter in his own right as an artist. Hours devoted in his home office for months, working on crowd sourcing, designing layouts, creating concepts, branding and more have gotten this magazine to the place it is today. Johnson himself designed the first three issues while simultaneously pulling in others to be a part of the team. This artist is not only a master creator, but a top-notch entrepreneur. “The fact that people associate my name with the magazine and the brand is both humbling, terrifying, and extremely rewarding,” Johnson happily states, reflecting of the process of MiA’s creation.
“MOST iNFLUENTIAL ART Magazine” currently boasts six amazing issues with more lined up for publication. Each issue highlights world renowned and small-town artists alike. One of the creator’s biggest desires is for the magazine to help recognize these smaller artists getting their start in the art community. The mission statement “MOST iNFLUENTIAL ART Magazine is a contemporary art publication dedicated to bridging the gap between emerging, mid-career, and established artists,” clearly embodies that desire. Another goal Johnson has would be for the publication to gain traction and grow to be the country’s largest publication of its kind with the most subscribers and viewers nationwide. As the magazine continues to grow and connect individuals, developing a stronger artistic community, there’s no doubt that these dreams will come to fruition.