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 Carl Johnson  (20/21st century)

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Lived/Active: Illinois      Known for: landscape, cityscape, architecture, street scenes, etching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Carl Johnson had an early interest in art, and this focus combined with his talent, has shaped his life. With a BFA in Design from the University of Illinois/Champaign, he became a commercial artist in the metro Chicago area.

In 1970 he moved his family to Galena, Illinois to paint full time, and in 1974, he and his wife, Marilyn, opened an art gallery, which is now certified as an Historic Rehabilitation project.  It is located in Galena's Historic District, which has greatly inspired him in developing his pen-and-ink and watercolor technique to record historic architecture. He always paints on location, whether it be depicting a single blossom or Chicago scenes such as Wrigley Field or Michigan Avenue.

To set up an etching studio, he installed an 1854 Howard Press in a building called the Old Stockade, dating to the 1820s.  When he is working with his copper plates, he hangs out an open sign, so people can view the process. Marilyn holds history sessions on the building 'by appointment'.

For 17 years, Johnson led European sketch trips for the University of Illinois School of Architecture/Versailles program.  He also serves on the Galena Preservation Board, and Marilyn serves on the state wide board of Landmarks Illinois.  The couple, who have four grown children, live most of the time in their apartment over the Galena Gallery, but they frequently travel to Chicago where they have a condo near Michigan Avenue.

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