It has been emphasized many times over by therapists and general practitioners alike that the two hemispheres of the brain cannot function well at the same time. The left side can be more developed to make the person’s analytical and mathematical skills defined, while the right side’s advancement generates the creativity of an individual. Their performances are not supposed to be parallel.
This scientific belief can easily be disproved by Leroi Callwell Johnson, a local attorney who has been serving in the Buffalo, New York for more than 27 years now. His accomplishments, however, do not end and begin in being a man of law. Apart from this profession, he has been the manager of his older brother Rick James, a rock legend, as well as various entertainers in the 70s such as Val Young and The Mary Janes. His most recent travails have landed him in a respectable position in the art scene.
How Did Leroi Johnson Become A Painter?
Leroi’s deep passion for the arts has begun around the time that he was hospitalized for three years since the tender age of 10 due to a car accident. During that period of his life, he was not allowed to get up from the bed and take short walks in the hospital. Hence, the only things he has seen continuously are the ceiling and walls of the room.
One day, the kind man next to his post there has gifted him with a sketch pad and some crayons to help him while away the hours. Because of his limited viewing space, the artist has learned to utilize his imagination and draw from his perspective. Besides, the position he has taken on the bed has had a significant impact on him. Up to this moment, the paintings made by Leroi are done vertically.
The art has continued to be a part of his life even after getting discharged from the medical institution. His job as Rick James’ manager has given him the prospect of visiting all the large art museums and exhibitions in every state of the United States at that age. Such an experience has inspired him to create masterpieces with acrylics on canvas.
Another factor that has propelled Leroi towards the craft is his intense enthusiasm for African art. He has been an avid collector for 30 years already. His love for African culture is evident in a lot of his paintings.
Has He Ever Been Discouraged From Painting?
The short response is yes, but the story behind it is quite impressive. Perhaps before the years when Leroi was still supervising the career, finances, and company of his late brother, he has presented some of his older artworks to Rick James who then jokingly commented that he did not like the lawyer’s paintings. Leroi, on the other hand, took this seriously to the heart and stopped working on canvases for a whole decade. The hiatus has only ended when a curator of one of the museums he has gone to has taken notice of his other paintings. That and Rick’s clarification that he has indeed liked Leroi’s art pieces have given him the courage to pick up the brush and start making masterworks once more.
What Is/Are His Notable Painting Style(s)?
Because he has not attended courses or received formal training at any point, his genius is not restricted by the terminologies often used in the art world. In the beginning, the paintings seem to have a tinge of geometric abstraction – a form of art that the great master Picasso is famous for. Several years later, this has transformed into the depiction of his ideals and personal anecdotes.
Leroi now says that his paintings are “electric primitive” due to the way he draws and colors his subjects. It is primitive in the sense that the lines and figures are a bit similar to how the medieval folks have illustrated their traditions and practices on stone caves. The exciting part comes from the fact that, unlike the ancient people, he adds colors to his works.
The images he forms have an animated feel, and the shades are often vivid. You will not find a painting of his that has a single concentration. Every one of them consists of a conglomeration of figures and objects. Though they may seem simple at first, the truth is that the thoughts hidden underneath each picture are too profound and beautiful.
What Are His Usual Subjects?
As an African American himself, Leroi Johnson’s paintings are Afrocentric. It entails that a good number of his masterpieces have been mainly focused on the African people and culture. Other than that, the time he has spent in Brazil and his involvement in Catholicism have motivated him to paint a few canvases regarding those matters.
Who Are His Inspirations?
Leroi has mentioned in every interview that his work is not influenced by any famous artist in history. Despite that, he still has much respect for people like Pablo Picasso, Abdias do Nascimiento, Marc Chagall, and Salvador Dali.
What Are Some Of Leroi’s Achievements In The Field Of Art?
Being able to present his artworks in different countries like Canada, France, and Italy is already a significant achievement that has never come to his imagination. Still, because of the brilliance that is innate in this man, there is no doubt that Leroi is going to be peppered with praises and awards in the coming years. It has recently started, for he has obtained recognition as one of the ArtTour International Magazine’s Top 60 Masters of Contemporary Art in 2015.
Leroi has been given leadership positions in various art organizations as well. He is a former member of the board at the Erie County Cultural Advisory Committee and serves at the moment as a trustee for the Burchfield Penney Art Center and the Buffalo Society of Artists.
Leroi Johnson is the best exemplification of an “exemption to the rule.” He has no qualms about going back and forth to the legal and art worlds. He can excellently fulfill his duties as a local Buffalo lawyer and a budding international artist without stumbling. May we see more people like Leroi in the future.