As a sculptor, I have always been concerned with creating works of art that cause the viewer to pause and reflect upon their surroundings and in doing so become more aware of the environment that they are passing though. In addition, each work of art that I have designed and fabricated is a reflection of past experiences that have shaped my life and the interest that I have in ancient cultures, especially the Mayan and Inca that used art as a means of communicating their lifestyles and cultures. Equally important has been my use of the arch as a means of transforming the viewer from a place and time of activity to one of calm and reflection.
The artistic career of James Johnson spans over 40 years. As a sculptor/artist, he has participated in over 90 regional and national juried and invitational exhibitions, completed numerous Large-scale public sculptures in aluminum and cor-ten steel, ranging in size from 12 to 25 feet in height which are on permanent and temporary exhibit in Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas, Indiana, Missouri, and Iowa. He has received six grants from state and local institutions to develop glassblowing and bronze casting facilities and was selected as one of five sculptors to participate in a research project at the University of Costa Rica. In addition, he served as an artist-in-residence at Anderson College in Anderson, Indiana, where he designed and fabricated a 17' 2,000 lb. large-scale public sculpture. He was selected as guest instructor at the Texas Tech University summer program in Junction, Texas and the Penland School of Arts and Crafts in Penland, North Carolina. A 1963 graduate of Emporia State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Art, he went on to receive his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Kansas in 1970. He spent nearly a decade teaching at the University of Kansas and Arkansas State University before making his way to Eastern Illinois University where he served as Professor and Chairperson of the Art Department and Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities.