Arizona Artist Bethany Johnston Inspires Through Collage

Creative Council is known widely for supporting creatives in all fields, opening up opportunities and furthering the industry. Bethany Johnston joined the Creative Council and has been developing her passion as an artist since then.

Photos by @jeffottocreative

Johnston has an enriched background in education, including a PhD in Entomology; being a former research scientist and teaching experience in forensic science, nutrition and biology for over 10 years at Washington State University. She continues to teach biology while pursuing elevated collage art.
“For me, art and science have always been so intricately woven, that it was a natural extension to let the art out, to release the art,” Johnston said. “One of the coolest things for me is depending on a piece that somebody especially likes, I know so much about them. It’s like reading Tarot cards.”
Johnston explained she has been doing art for many years, but started creating collages as a way to explain to her son, an audio engineer, what his music looked like and felt like. Currently, the inspiration and vision behind her artworks varies.

“Sometimes it’s a piece of music or a playlist. Sometimes it’s just an image that strikes me,” Johnston said. “And recently, I’ve started doing custom pieces, where I will actually use a company or an individual’s images that they provide, and then turn them into these collages.”

When working with other companies, Johnston described that her creative process begins by looking through the image given in order to fully understand the color palette, tone and overall aesthetic of the brand; She tries not to alter the art and let the pieces guide her work. However, some collages are more so personalized to her life experiences, another component paramount to Johnston’s inspiration.

“I look at them as being very, very emotionally autobiographical. And nothing is literal, like there was never a COVID collage. But there was a sense of COVID through a few of them, or there was a sense of movement or a sense of loss,” Johnston said. “And if I line everything up chronologically, it’s pretty much the last few years of my life. And I can read them and people around me relate to them.”

To some, the art form of collaging may be looked down upon or scrutinized for not being “real art,” but Johnston believes that the medium gets a negative connotation due to collages not well designed, with, “a spacey background, an asynchronous foreground and a subject” and a tone of, “sarcasm, irony or disparity.” She believes real collage art is not any of these.

“Every one of my pieces is a story. So it’s about connections, not sarcasm and disparity. And for me, that’s the real difference,” Johnston said.

With her career gaining ground in the industry, Johnston mentioned Luxe and City’s Creative Council played a pivotal role. She was introduced to the Creative Council through Elena Tapia via Instagram, met with Samantha Howard and Alex Salazar, hit it off and joined the Council about five days later.

“It’s just been steady up, up, up. With every contact comes more contact and then more contacts… [Luxe and City has] been just incredible, just unbelievable in their support,” Johnston said. “There’s nothing that they won’t do, nothing that’s too hard. They’re willing, they’re wide open, and welcome to everything.”

Find Bethany on Instagram.

Photos by @jeffottocreative




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