Artists Biography

Andrew Johnson was born (1965) in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, and completed his secondary education in 1981 at Cyfarthfa High School. He returned to full time art education in 1987 and studied a Foundation Course in Art and Design at Newport College of Art, South Wales, after which he completed a BA (Hons) and MA, at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee, Scotland, where he lived until 1994.

During Art College, his professional practice was centred on photography where he explored the socio-political turmoil of the declining mining industry, along with developing diverse, creative projects, with different groups of people in the community. He spent four years working empathically alongside the miners of Taff Merthyr Colliery, South Wales, until its closure in 1993, and produced a large body of photographic work which was widely exhibited. Andrew co-ordinated a programme of art therapy based workshops and site-specific art works in a Young Offenders Institution; he set up photography workshops with the Cyrenians as a supportive tool to help forge personal and communal values with homeless residents; he was commissioned to structure and run an art project in a new architectural model of a residential home for the elderly, seeking to promote communal and family values. Empathy and humanity became cornerstones of his photographic practice.

Wales became his home again in the mid 1990's and photography, painting, collage, regular exhibitions, and an artist in residence programme, helped further his creative practice. He subsidised his work through part-time teaching.

In 1996 he spent fourteen months travelling Central America which was highly influential to him. Equipped with an unobtrusive 35mm roll film camera, the artist travelled from Northern Mexico to Panama City, producing a successful photography exhibition when he returned home. He experienced a rich diversity of life and culture and met many wonderful people on his journey.

On his return to Wales in late 1997, he was commissioned to creatively promote a new initiative through Leisure Services that was set up to help local people experience outdoor pursuits and orienteering skills; he was given free artistic licence to creatively develop the project using photography. This period of time also saw him being commissioned to co-run a series of digital, multimedia workshops, to explore youth culture and social identity, at different youth clubs in South Wales.

He moved to Ireland in 2002, where he established himself as a core member of a very prominent artists' collective working with painting, photography and video. Collaboration with a psychotherapist and author and a sound artist, was an important part of his art practice. He set up a series of highly successful International, Live Art, Music and Multimedia Events, to great acclaim. Cork 2005, European Capital of Culture, funded a live art event for capital of culture along with an artist in residence award.

In 2005 he moved to Brighton working as a webite designer and further exploring video art works. He finally returned to work in South Wales in 2009 where his creative practice now sees him working mainly with video work and photography, along with undertaking collaborative projects with other artists. He worked as a photography lecturer for fourteen years until late 2022.

Artist's Background and Education

Andrew Johnson graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee, in 1992, with a BA (Bachelor of Fine Arts- Hons) and an MA (Master of Fine Arts). In 2012 he graduated with a Distinction PGCE. He has exhibited in the UK, Ireland, Europe and America, in solo and group shows.