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Q&A with Avery Johnson

What drew you to WashU?
I tend to thrive in small communities and was drawn to the close-knit and intimate approach of the studio art program. I could tell professors and peers have a deep understanding of each student’s work and are rooting for their growth and success.

What interests you most about your studies in art?
I have a rigorously process-oriented approach to making—which is probably why I am so invested in printmaking. I am very intrigued by experimentation and creating my own and unconventional methodology.

Tell us about your work—what are you making right now? What types of projects or topics most interest you?
I have been working pretty photographically for a while. I’m really enjoying experimenting with in camera manipulation and different color processes. Recently I have been really interested in early moving image techniques and juxtaposing that with contemporary media ideals.

What’s been the most memorable course or project you’ve completed in the Sam Fox School?
My favorite course I have taken so far is the Feedback Loop Printmaking Art Practice class with Lisa Bulawsky. That class completely opened my eyes to a new way of creating and encouraged me to work more intuitively.

What have you learned as an art student that you’d be most lost without?
Being an artist is a really powerful thing. The Sam Fox School has encouraged me to work from my experience, to be unafraid, to be vulnerable, and to be bold. I have learned to use art as my voice and platform. It’s really easy to feel insignificant and overwhelmed by the world, but art keeps me grounded, it gives me purpose.

Tell us about your experiences working with Island Press. What projects have you worked on?
I love working for Island Press! It has definitely been the highlight of my year. So far, I have been able to work on the projects of Michael Joo, Barber, Erika Blumenfeld, and Stephanie Syjuco.

How have your experiences with Island Press influenced your work?
I have become a much better printmaker and now have a stronger attention to detail. Island Press works mostly with non-printmakers, so there is a pretty open and sometimes non-traditional approach to the projects. We are constantly experimenting, and I get to learn a lot of niche or invented techniques.

What is your favorite thing about St. Louis?
There is so much character, and each neighborhood has something different to offer. I often find myself discovering new and slightly bizarre establishments.

What do you like to do away from studio?
I love fashion. Whenever I’m not in studio I am likely on eBay or looking for a new antique mall to go to, sometimes even in the middle of making my own clothing and accessories.

Tell us something we should know about you that we forgot to ask!
I love cheese and make a sick cheese plate. Some would call it a gift.

Work by Avery Johnson

Multi-element wall installation featuring works in brown, black, and white, including silksreens, lithographs, etchings, monotypes, and relief prints.


Silkscreen, lithograph, etching, monotype, relief print
Varied sizes

Video still of a blurry close up of a person wearing bright pink lipstick.

Rubber Tongue

Video and sound
3 min. 8 sec.

Black-and-white print showing a darkened hand with a streak of light underneath.

Sausage Fingers

Inkjet print
16" x 20"