Loni Johnson - Sketchbooks & Drawings

Loni Johnson's sketchbooks give us a rich and intimate insight into her exploration of drawing techniques and experimentation with specific imagery. We get a glimpse of creative actions and influences that became integral to the evolution of her practice. Usage of ornamentation, figure studies and visual inquiries that prefigured her involvement in social practice are prevalent in her sketchbooks dating to the period from 2010 to 2020. In her sketchbooks, we see these visual speculations as markers for potential community-building activations. Themes relating to family, ancestry, identity, and community are a mainstay of her practice. The drawings and writings in her sketchbooks also allude to the necessity of creating safe communal spaces for Black women and girls. These themes of belonging and centering women are also pivotal frameworks of her creative practice.

In Loni Johnson’s drawings, we are privy to the visual speculations that propose and envision how ‘Blackness’ inhabits space and moves throughout time towards a place of communitas. Sketches of cocoon-like pods, emblematic wordplays, collages with family photographs and the imaginings of ancestral connections are woven throughout Johnson’s drawings. Early motifs reference cocoon-like pods which function as shelters and safe spaces from which the potential to emerge is both an intentional act and a freeing one. Loni Johnson's practice is dedicated to the imperative of building community and recognizing the transformative agency of this act is the driving force of her artistic and activist platform.

Collection Items

Sketchbook Studies no.1
Exterior view of sketchbook.
Created on 2018
Type: Image

Sketchbook Studies no.3
Sketchbook figure studies and drawings.
Created on 2018
Type: Image

Sketchbook Studies no.2
Sketchbook with pen drawings and wordplays.
Created on 2018
Type: Image

Study no.1
Mixed-media study on board for the installation Homage. 
Created on 2018

Pod (Study)
Study of organic pod-like form that suggests protection and safety. The motif of the pod and cocoon recurs throughout Loni Johnson's work.
Created on 2015
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