Jay Johansen Artist
Part painter, part storyteller, Johansen plays with color, light, composition and technique until every element of his work becomes a participant in the tale he weaves about his subject. His models range from icons of the entertainment world, to world leaders, to street people, but he approaches each with a powerful almost tangible curiosity.
Johansen seeks out the drama and experience of the human expression, recreating it through fearless experimentation with color, light, medium and texture. At times saturated with color that seems to almost drip off the canvas, at others almost translucent in the delicate rendering of a skin tone, Johansen’s portraits boast a juxtaposition of bold and subtle elements. Painting from a single light source, he stretches the contrast between light and shadow for dramatic impact, creating portraits of concentrated expression alongside delicate and dexterous handling of physical detail.
In his relatively short artistic career Johansen’s work has already been recognized with several honors and prizes. he has been awarded the Artdex International’s Gold Medal Award, the Best Portrait Award by the Society of Western Artists and his piece “Untitled #1 was named one of the top 50 prints by the U.S. Art Gallery. Additionally, he has been commissioned to create portraits of pianist Dave Brubeck; former South African President Nelson Mandela; football legend Jim Brown; former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown; former Secretary of State Colin Powell; and Reverend Jesse Jackson.