Steve Johnston



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Steve Johnston was born in Glasgow in 1956 and grew up in Dumfries. He studied art at school but when leaving he took employment as an apprentice electrician before accepting a placement at Cumbria College of Art and Design. In his second year he changed medium from painting to photography as he found black and white formats inspiring, while still viewing the work from an artist’s perspective, utilising a camera rather than a paint brush.

After qualifying in 1976, Steve moved to London as a professional photographer and worked freelance for teen magazines which led to commissions for Vogue including work included in the “Pink Punk Book” published in 1978. His work became well known and a reputation began to build. He had pictures included in the “Lives” exhibition curated by Derek Boshier at the Hayward Gallery, London.

He returned to painting in 1991 and slowly built a portfolio of exhibition standard and then as he says “ ...something clicked!”

Since 2004 his work has been hugely successful as published limited edition prints and many are sold out. His reputation has spread widely both within the UK and abroad and today his originals are collected worldwide.

Steve approaches his backgrounds in an abstract painter and paints instinctively rather than from pre-planned situations. He then attempts to take the viewer somewhere with a sense of the familiar with figures that have great shape and familiarity. As he says “the aim is to portray an essence and emotion rather than a well defined person or location”.

Many galleries will stock Steve’s prints but few have access to his original work and therefore we are proud to have Steve Johnston originals within this gallery.