Growing up as the daughter of a plant pathologist, artist Jennifer Johnson was able to travel across the country camping and hiking national parks like Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Arches. In her August show at A. Banks Gallery, Johnson showcases a new body of work along with landscape artist Gary Huber. About a year and a half in the making, Johnson’s new series was inspired by the mid-1930s to 1940s national park poster series during the Great Depression. During this time period, Johnson explains, unemployed artists were hired to create posters to promote the parks. Johnson says she holds onto the memories of visiting these parks as a child and seeing these iconic posters—most of which have been lost today—and was inspired to create new artwork in the same vintage style.
In these paintings, Johnson incorporates typography over animals like bears, bison and elk in various wilderness backdrops. All lettering is hand-painted and made to look purposefully imperfect, Johnson says. In many ways, she’s been able to blend the artistic worlds of graphic design and painting together.
Often, collectors will tell her about certain locations they’ve visited at national parks that evoke special memories and commission her to paint the spot for them. “I’m trying to pull back those vintage memories,” Johnson says. “People have memories from [their] travels. It’s a big deal growing up to have those... So it’s a fun piece to incorporate into your collection.”
“Jennifer’s work captures the spirit of the West and is a consistent favorite with gallery clients…she’s a versatile talent, and we are looking forward to the upcoming show,” says Alissa Banks, owner of A. Banks Gallery. This latest body of work debuted
at The Russell Live this past March. One of Johnson’s pieces, The Great American Wild West, sold above estimates at $23,400.
Currently, Johnson is in the beginning stages of a large piece she is creating on the Sperry Chalet hotel at Glacier National Park for the Glacier National Park Conservancy as a donation to help rebuild the hotel, which was lost to a forest fire last year.
Johnson’s upcoming show at A. Banks Gallery will begin on August 10 at 6 p.m. and runs through August 31.
Vernal Falls, oil on canvas, 36 x 24"
Johnson in her studio.
Vintage Glacier Black Bear, oil on canvas, 36 x 24"
Yellowstone Bison, oil on canvas, 36 x 24"