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




Solo Exhibitions:

2014   Stars That Shine Darkly, Park Life, San Francisco

2013   A Ghost Of A Chance, The Shooting Gallery, San Francisco
           One Never Knows, FTC, Tokyo
           Here and There, Integral 03, Taipei

2012   Straight Ahead, Park Life, San Francisco

2011   The Last Time It Was Gray (with Sadie Barnette), Park Life, San Francisco

2010   Of The Living Sky, Park Life, San Francisco

2009   Ian Johnson, White Walls, San Francisco

2008   Other Rooms, Other Songs, Park Life, San Francisco

2008   Ian Johnson and Albert Reyes, White Walls, San Francisco

2007   Moods In Free Time, Park Life, San Francisco

2004   Alone Together, Future Primitive, San Francisco

Group Exhibitions:

2014   Mini Mansion, Guerrero Gallery, San Francisco
           Blue Note 75 Exposition / Sound & Graphics, Fort de Bruissin, Lyon

2013   Library, Creme de la creme, Tokyo

2012   Season Opener!, Guerrero Gallery, San Francisco

2010   Diverse Chorus, Scoop, Charleston, SC
           100 Records, Gallery 16, San Francisco

2007   Cascading Piles of Debris, Ok Ok, Seattle
           My Favorite Color, White Walls, San Francisco

2006   Clement Cement, 3131, San Francisco

2005   Flanuer, Punch Gallery, San Francisco

2002   Test Group, Fifty 24 SF, San Francisco


"I Know You're Somewhere"
Published by Park Life & Gingko Press
96 pages, 10" x 9", Hard Cover, First Edition

“Beauty Is A Rare Thing”
Published by Paper Museum Press, 2008


2010   Yenches, Dominick. "Of The Living Sky," Ollie, #134, 6/10
           Whiteley, Mark. "Ian Johnson," Juxtapoz, #111, 4/10

2009   Le Goff, Guillaume. "A Little Bit Of Jazz," Clark, #34, 6/10
           Maneiri, Mario. "Ian Johnson," Jazz Colours, #5, 5/10


New York Times Magazine
San Francisco Chronicle
Sb Japan
Straight No Chaser
The New Yorker
Wax Poetics