About: Ian Johnson grew up in Syracuse, NY, where he developed a love for jazz by listening to his grandfather’s favorite radio station. Years later, while living in San Francisco, Ian’s interest in this nostalgic music genre was rekindled through skate video soundtracks. To fill his empty walls, Ian began painting his own jazz posters that naturally evolved into t-shirt and skateboard graphics. Combining his passion for music and skating, the young artist started Western Edition: a skate brand that uses images of jazz legends to express movement, action, and energy. Landmark musicians such as Miles Davis, Nat King Cole and John Coltrane are represented; chosen for their historic role in revolutionizing music as we know it. As Ian is impulsively attracted to the geometry of faces, these jazz performers’ expressions are rendered in black and white against psychedelic rays of color. Ian’s hypnotizing designs reflect the improvisational quality of skateboarding and jazz music, a commonality that continually inspires him. His portraits resonate with the excitement of a live jazz performance through expressive faces and energetic lines, translating the soul of jazz into contemporary times.
3 Tenors (John Coltrane, Ike Quebec, Sam Rivers)
Acrylic on wood panel, 10 x 22 Inches, 2014
Mansion Worlds (Pharaoh Sanders)
Acrylic Gouache and Spray Paint on Wood Panel, 11 X 14 Inches, 2014