I attended Kiel Johnson’s lecture not knowing what to expect and I was really blown away by his work. I really enjoy working with my hands, be it for art or just changing the oil on my truck, and Johnson’s work reminded me of that feeling. His work with cardboard showed that anything can be used as art, not just clay, paint, computers or otherwise. His drawing work is above and beyond anything I could imagine doing, but his subjects were all very interesting, simple things that he put his own person flair into. Though Johnson’s work is almost all made of paper, cardboard and ink, he also adds a digital aspect to his work by filming the creation of his sculptures and that was really the most interesting part for me.
As a lecturer, I though Kiel was awesome. He seemed really down to earth and didn’t hide any of his creative process or the ideas that led up to it. He seemed like a genuinely nice guy and his positive attitude really came through in the way he casually showed off his work and gave us the back story on what led him to start creating the different pieces.
One of the coolest pieces that he showed was his newspaper printing press. I though that is was really cool how he went from drawing it out on paper, to cutting it from different pieces of cardboard and finally constructing it to the point where it was a moving functional piece. The icing on the cake was that he put in his own drawings on sheets of paper so it looked like his own art piece was printing out copies of his art. It really blurred the lines between functional machinery and art and I really enjoyed that.
His work on the cardboard Twin Lens Reflex Camera was the most impressive for me. As a digital media student, I haven’t been able to really create physical art and be able to justify it as digital media, but through his work being taped and timelapsed, I was inspired and shown that there is a way to bridge the worlds seamlessly.
After leaving the lecture I was really refreshed to see how digital media can be used across a broad spectrum of different art. Though I did not know it then, his lecture and art inspired me to build a functional bike entirely out of wood and glue for my final project for this class. I used a GoPro to film the entire process and am making a video to accompany the physical piece. Without seeing his lecture I would have never been inspired to build the bike and though it has been a tedious project, I am really glad that his work changed the way I work.