Artists rarely buy art; they don’t have to. Instead, they either make their own, or, they trade with colleagues who’s work they admire. Over the years, my dad, George Dunbar, has acquired pieces this way from distinguished New Orleans artists like Shearly Grode, Bob Helmer and George Dureau. He also has two large black and white paintings by Richard Johnson. “Richard is exceptionally talented,” my dad said. “He does what he does as well or better than anyone anywhere. I’m a big fan of his work.” My dad is a tough critic. Coming from him, that is a tremendous compliment.
Richard Johnson was a professor at UNO for 37 years. Though he recently retired from teaching, he still has a studio on campus. The large metal building is surrounded by classrooms and other studio spaces. Occasionally, students pop in to ask questions, to share ideas, or to just observe the master at work. It’s the perfect space and the right atmosphere for creativity to thrive.
Richard’s work has been shown and collected all over the world. And, a few artists have been lucky enough to make a trade.
Richard Johnson is represented by Cole Pratt Gallery on Magazine Street. His next show is in December.