Teddy Johnson’s “Sleep Walker” is about the daily ritual that most everybody goes through in preparing for the day. It is the often humorous struggle of the automatic morning procedure. It reminds one of crawling out of bed half-awake reaching for the first cup of coffee or arriving at your destination only to realize you are wearing two different shoes (or often in my case two different colored socks).
RL- Can you share some of your thoughts on “Sleep Walker”
TJ- The painting "Sleep Walker" was an exploration of the gray area between sleeping and waking up. It's an ongoing struggle and sometimes comedy that can ensue as we drag ourselves from sleep to work. The mind is trying to finish processing dreams, trying to anticipate the day, remember where it is at, and differentiate this day from the last. This painting was a culmination for me of the work I did over a period of study when I was trying to capture images from my mind's eye, and to describe experience that cannot be seen. The exciting thing about this piece for me was how close it captured a particular experience during a particular time of my life.
RL- What is the “particular experience” you mentioned?
The “particular experience” that is referenced relates to time studying in graduate school. I was thinking about the new work I was doing and the challenges that come with the rigorous but rewarding experience. In addition, I was transitioning with educational experience and the development of stages in ability and career.
RL- Can you tell me a little bit about the technique you used to create the texture seen throughout the painting?
TJ- I created a full size drawing before starting and then transferred the composition gesturaly onto the canvas before gradually building the color. Paint quality is always of concern to me in my works whether working clean and thin, or "torturing" the surface. In this one I was using a homemade Damar/Beeswax medium to build up the surface while keeping the paint creamy. In other paintings during this time I used the beeswax medium combined with stand oil, linseed oil, or quick drying medium to create similar effects.
RL- Is the subject meant to be read as separate figures or is it more of a simultaneous narrative?
TJ- The painting is a simultaneous narrative, meaning that it is the same character going through separate events at the same time. Time becomes ambiguous making it difficult to determine whether it is moving forward or backwards. The state of consciousness is treated in a similar manner blurring the line between whether the main figure is asleep or awake.