Art should provoke. Art should make you uncomfortable. But most of all, art should make you look at yourself in the world. It’s sometimes a dirty and telling mirror that brings the ego into perspective. Good art doesn’t ask you to peer into your own reflection. It puts fish hooks into your eye lids and gives you a visceral reaction of what it’s like to be a human on this planet.
Johnie Thornton is the one holding the mirror. His work speaks to the human condition in a very real way. He’s based in Los Angeles, but it isn’t the city that inspired him. It’s the inhabitants. Every day is a sociology lesson that he later transcribes onto canvas — or wood in Thornton’s case. Each interaction in a coffee shop or Hollywood dive bar feeds the inspiration to his paint brush.
From identity to theology to societal influences on the Earth, Thornton’s art is a living and breathing work. Utilizing geometry as an expression of movement, communication and growth; his creations act as a compass for navigating the complex relationships man has with himself, his peers and his environment.
“I create an environment of both ease and discomfort, examining an inner struggle between the appreciation and disdain of man’s creations and accomplishments.”
Thornton’s art has been shown at various galleries like Moen Mason Gallery in Tucson (which is currently running in April), Wallspace Gallery in LA, Woodman/Shimko Gallery in Palm Springs and more. His latest showing will be at Thumbprint Gallery 2 in San Diego later this month. If you can’t make the trip to Southern California, check out some of his art below!