Lowcountry artist shares gift and inspiration with students

Artist opens studio, shares talent with Lowcountry students (WCIV)

This Black History month we are introducing you to local artists who are leaving their mark on the world one brush stroke at a time.

Damion Johnson knew in elementary school that he had a talent. What he didn’t know is it would take him from the classroom, to the barbershop and then into his own art studio. His talent and skill has no boundaries.

“I’m not an art teacher, alright, I’m an artist and I share what I do,” Johnson said.

Ask anyone what art is, you’ll get thousands of answers.

“At the beginning of my day, I just come here and share it with some young people,” Johnson said. “It’s all art, everything I do is coming from my hands.”

"Wherever inspiration strikes, “I’m creating, I’m creating every time. They’re connected, they’re not three different worlds at all.”

His work is innovative, but as old as time.

“If you share what you do, just as a teacher, it’ll live on,” he said.

The idea is to create a blank slate and to no longer be bound by his fear.

“I think I’m getting old, I got patience now you know,” Johnson added.

Johnson comes from a big family, in a small town.

“Reevesville, a lot of people associate that with St. George, SC. Grits capital of the world. That’s where I’m from, country boy,” he said.

The Dorchester County native shares his canvases with students at Orangeburg-Wilkinson High school.

“This is our college walk. What we try to do is funnel all the traffic through these doors, so they can see our college walk.”

He hopes to create visionaries who happen to have an artistic eye,.

“You have a great one right here, Claflin University, and others,” he said.

Sports medals or academic honors weren’t around his room.

“I wasn’t the best in basketball, compared to my brothers, I wasn’t the fastest, I think I was a little fat back then, wasn’t the smartest in the house, so I finally found something that I could do,” he said.

So now he is creating masterpieces by simply connecting the lines,.

“Probably around 5th grade when I kind of fell in love with it, not because I loved it, but because it was something that I was good at,” Johnson added.

Johnson's artwork lines the wall of his studio. Each piece has its own story.

“That whole series was put together from resting faces of slaves, photographs. The resting faces of slaves were so interesting cause you saw all of the pain and work in their faces,” he said.

He finds a canvas just about anywhere.

“This came from a series called doors. That’s the only thing that holds that series together. Subject matter is totally random; but they’re all painted on actual doors,” he said.

His picture has been sketched. There’s even some under paint, and with each broad stroke—he adds to the collection of art called life.

“Art is the one thing that makes you enjoy the world. Art is far more important, far more than just being important to the world, it is the world. It is the world.”

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