On Overlapping

June 2021 | By Tenea D. Johnson

Zenn Diagram 1, Logic/Acrylic. Featured in Mize Gallery’s   Rainbow exhibition in St. Pete. 

This month I have a couple pieces available that exist beyond the page – a fiction album and something even further afield that abandons the notion of story altogether, a conceptual piece for Mize Gallery’s Rainbow show in honor of Pride month. 

I usually think of myself as a storyteller, which enables me to choose whatever medium best fits a particular idea, scenario or character.

I’ve had the good fortune of being around different kinds of artists throughout my life. From family to friends, they’ve shared their work and technique, nurturing my healthy appreciation for the arts. There was always cross-pollination so working in interdisciplinary ways often helps me express accurately. 

The fiction album may be closer to my actual natural medium, allowing me incorporate speculative fiction, narrative performance and music. It’s something I would make even if no one else ever heard it – but of course I’m glad that now people can.

This latest piece for Rainbow though is something new to me. I admire painters, but I don’t paint. On this particular piece I decided not to construct anything or do pyrography, which I enjoy but have done in the past.

I decided to do something that actually involved paint (shudder). The result is a visual depiction of a concept, and one I find intriguing. We had a circle to work with, so I leaned into it and came up with philosophy on wood. I don’t enjoy puzzles but finding logical fallacies is another matter. This doesn’t exactly fall into that category but somewhere near it. 

The reward in trying something new is two-fold this time. I finished the project and now have these Venn Diagram glasses through which I’m looking at the world right now. Perhaps I’ll do a series or perhaps I’ll just enjoy what already is. 

Have you tried something new lately? Perhaps it’s time.

You can explore Tenea D. Johnson’s work at teneadjohnson.com

You can hear Tenea D. Johnson in a roundtable conversation recorded earlier this year
with speculative fiction authors featured
in the anthology, Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond.

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