Biographies of japanese print makers


Biography Johnson, Lois (1936 - )

Lois Johnson, born in Australia in 1936, studied at Sydney University and at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. One of her teachers was Yoshisuke Funasaka (b. 1939), who is known for his compositions (both abstract and figurative) involving lemons or rows of multicoloured vertical stripes.
In 1980 she had a solo exhibition in Honolulu, and in the years after that she participated in many group exhibitions, mainly in Japan. In 1994 she participated in the prestigious 39th CWAJ (College Women's Association of Japan) print show for the first time; in the 50th CWAJ show in 2005 her entry (Iris) was exhibited. This was also the 7th time that her work was accepted there, a remarkable achievement.
Her work is characterized by strong lines, mostly combined with heavy embossing (blindprinting). The effect of this use of blindprinting is difficult to capture in a scan, but photographs have been added ("detail") wherever relevant.

Lois Johnson was born and grew up as an Australian in Papua New Guinea. She was educated in Australia, graduating from Sydney University with a major in Anthropology. After graduating she returned to Papua New Guinea to work in Women's Welfare.

A love of drawing, especially life drawing, has always been central to her art work. After marriage in Papua New Guinea she illustrated a series of English as a Second Language texts written by her husband. She has had wide experience in illustration including the seminal work by Douglas Oliver, Oceania, the Native Cultures of Australia and the Pacific Islands, published by the University of Hawai'i Press.

In 1972 the family moved from Papua New Guinea to Hawaii. She studied painting and printmaking at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Her lithography teacher, James Koga, aroused her interest in printmaking.

When the family moved to Japan in 1986, Lois began studying the Japanese woodblock technique of printmaking with Funasaka Yoshisuke. She found this technique exciting, freeing the printmaker from the necessity of relying on a mechanical press. In a sense this is a "poor man's technique", as it relies solely on the pressure of the hand and the "baren" or burnisher to produce the print.

Lois has found Funasaka sensei an inspiring teacher who encourages artists to experience the different ways the technique can be used. He never restricts an idea or expects one to follow the master, a stereotypical fear of Western artists working with Eastern teachers. She continues to experiment, explore, and enjoy the freedom of the medium.

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