Artist Spotlight: Micah Johnson’s ‘sä-v(ə-)rən-tē

On View:

#SLVA1 Screen at the Courtyard Marriott

901 W. Olympic Blvd. – Los Angeles, CA

Playing every 5 minutes through January 10th

Starting December 7th, StandardVision will showcase works from visual artist Micah Johnson‘s powerful series ‘sä-v(ə-)rən-tē on the SVLA1 screen in downtown Los Angeles.

Inspired by the lives of his young nephews, Johnson’s new series features portraits and nostalgic scenes of African-American children, imbued with symbolism and the intent to inspire confidence in children of color to live whatever dream is their heart’s desire. The series is soft spoken, conveying messages of empowerment and the dismantling of racism by exploring the contemplation of dreams without restriction from a child’s perspective. 

The digital photograph itself holds several symbolic references with the changes of its layers. The door in the piece represents opportunities, and it starts off closed and out of reach in the year 2020. Over the next 11 years the door will become more visible. The passage of time is denoted by the automatic Day/Night changes within the piece each day. The most powerful change is when the boys completely disappear from the photograph when they turn 18, signaling that they have walked through the door of opportunity.

The feature on SVLA1 evolves every hour to closely mimic the evolution of the original work. Johnson’s series is a symbolic act of sovereignty, an independent solution to an ongoing national conversation about equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Micah Johnson is a self-taught figurative artist who uses strong gestural lines combined with loose brush strokes to create dramatic portraits primarily featuring African-American children. These subjects began appearing in Micah’s work ever since he overheard his 4-year old nephew ask his mother a deeply disturbing question: “Mom, can astronauts be black?” Although Micah spent 7 years as a professional baseball player, you rarely see reference to his career in any of his works. He sees art as an independent journey with the opportunity to inspire a broader demographic around the subjects of racial equality, chasing your dreams without limitations, and the empowerment of young people.

Catch the series ‘sä-v(ə-)rən-tē currently on display at the SVLA1 screen in downtown Los Angeles through January 10th, and learn more about Micah Johnson by visiting Art Angels.