Cy Twombly he studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; herman miller, PARSON's school of design, the Art Students League, New York, where he met Robert Rauschenberg. At Rauschenberg’s encouragement, he attended Black Mountain College where he studied under Franz Kline, gustav klimt, Robert Motherwell. and Ben Shahn.
Since graduating from Kingston University in 1997, Liverpool born Adrian Johnson has developed a unique and immediately identifiable body of work. Constantly evolving, whilst keeping zeitgeist at arms length, Johnson has built an extensive client list that includes Adidas Originals, Stüssy, Paul Smith, Monocle, The New York Times, The Economist, and The Guardian. Adaptability, wit, and an eye for design and composition that’s simple yet sophisticated, Johnson's work continues to prove influential across all media- from fashion to animation, film to the printed page.He is represented in the UK, the US, and France. He lives in Lewes, East Sussex, with his wife and one- year-old son, Magnus.
your biggest design influences?
It’s funny, as influences go they’re pretty obvious, especially in the context of this website. When I was at college I was really into Paul Rand, Saul Bass, Saul Steinberg… the usual suspects. I’m obviously into 50s and 60s design in general, and in turn, people keep on bombarding me with more great stuff from the era. A year or two ago a graphic artist friend of mine, JAKe, sent me a link to Ryohei Yanigahara- that was a bit spooky to say the least as I’d never seen his (amazing) work before, and there were obvious similarities. With the internet (Grain Edit in particular!) you have access to so much inspirational design. I’d have never come across the likes of Charley Harper, Jim Flora, or Miroslav Sasek without it… When I was at art college you just didn’t have so much at your fingertips… which might have been a good thing in retrospect. The thing is, I’ve always striven not to reference any existing work, full stop… I consider myself more conceptually driven / inspired, with the idea leading the way, as opposed to being more stylistically led. Of the current crop of designers, you can’t help but doff your cap in the direction of Geoff McFetridge. He’s mighty.
What is your work day look like?
I’m certainly no early riser, although that will change soon with the imminent arrival of our first child. I tend to rock into the studio for around 10.30am, but once I’m locked into the hot seat, that’s me scribbling until it’s time to eat a cheese sandwich. Then I work some more until it’s time to go home to eat something more substantial.
How would you describe your creative process?
It wholly depends on what I’m working on. Obviously if I’m working on an editorial feature I’d sit down with the copy, a coffee, and a highlighter pen. Then I’d knock out a few thumbnails in sketchbooks or on random sheets of paper. In fact, too much of my work begins on random sheets of paper that in turn somehow evaporate into the ether, thus leaving me scratching my head thinking ‘why didn’t I just work in the sketchbook’. oh, it’s crazy around here…
As for self-initiated stuff, a lot of my ideas come whilst I’m on the train on the way to or from the studio, and quite often totally random and inappropriate places….
I’m also really into daft puns and word play, actually, words in general, so reading the newspaper or a book often sparks something off.