Marley Johnson finishes the unfinished. With a style that is proudly loose yet under control, his paintings leave room for the imagination. There is a surface that the viewer must see for themselves, which can be completely subjective. Crafting the palettes of perception, Marley provides the viewer with avenues of spatial awareness.
What's the crappiest job you've had?
The crappiest job I've had would definitely be working for a construction company in Alberta called Burton General Construction. At the time in 2009 I was 19, a high school dropout, no drivers license and a sort a deep self-neglect that any angst driven teen has coming to terms with the “real life”. This job was labor intensive “up to 80+ hours a week”, replacing post tension cables, if you’re not aware what they are just look it up. My arms became very strong carrying bags of concrete all day and jackhammering into parkade ceilings first thing in the mornings. A few things I learned about working in this type of construction is if you think your life sucks, there is always someone jackhammering into a ceiling at 6:30am, also education is very important.
Who aren't artists?
This is a very odd question because it brings up stereotypes at first thought. You think of the artist archetype and the archetype of the statues que. When I think of who are artists people like Picasso, Andy Warhol or Joan Mitchell who seem to live by some mythical artistic integrity, comes to mind. It’s hard to really define what I think an artist is, however I think that having an art degree, being born into an artistic environment doesn't necessarily make you an artist, however may make you inclined to it. I don't think that trying to live by this mythical idea of an artist who isolates themselves, thinks profoundly will generate enough character to really be able to call yourself an artist either. I think its simpler than that but I'm not really in a place to say exactly what it is.
What do you want to say about your artistic endeavours so far?
Spend as much time as you need to make sure you feel secure in what it is you want to create, and never compromise that.
What characteristics do you have to possess to follow an artistic career path?
It’s sort of up to the artist to decide what they want to do with their art and in some ways there are no rules in which to follow or live by to define their work. I think an artist needs to be self-motivated, self-confident, resilient to live with this sort of context and responsibility of the practicing artist. When I talk to artists that have been around the block I think one thing that makes them stand the test of time is their sense of kindness towards others and their community. Being adaptable, personable and thoughtful will take you far in my mind.
To see more of Marley's work check out his Instagram @m4rl