by Jesse Lassen Bellinger

How do you put a price on your own head? Sculptor Andy Johnson
first discovered stone at age 11, and has since carved something
every day. From two-faced rotating heads to spermatozoa in repose
to an ancient-looking representation of a woman’s head the size of
a young teenager’s fist, Johnson creates timeless art that demands
a second look and may even offend. Until recently, he never felt
the desire to sell anything. He just makes the stuff because he
likes it.

“Why would I sell something I made?” he asked. “This is what
makes me tick: the exfoliation of stone. It’s a compulsion.” He
holds up what could be a hippoplatypus, then quickly points to what
started as a horse but now is what it is. After 25 years, when he
makes a mistake, Johnson utilizes the “whatever” motto rather than
get the cold sweats like he just lost his wallet.

His faces and figurines follow no set rule of anatomy, but
instead rise into the category of fertility goddess, or a
goblin-like entity that leaves you searching for some definitive
academic term from a book. Johnson’s pieces are now part of the
debut show for the new Dave Shelton Gallery on Fig and Cota
streets, just half a block down from the tried and true Joe’s Café
and yet another newly minted Caffeinated Corporate Café.

Johnson predicted his debut showing will have the established
galleries in town just slightly nervous. But his unabashed
confidence is coupled with humble and genuine thanks for being
given his talent. “If anybody can find a place in their life to
enjoy what they do as much as I get to enjoy this, they’d be very
fortunate people,” he said. “I feel very fortunate to have found
something that makes me who I am.” Andy Johnson’s sculptures are on
display at the Dave Shelton Gallery on the corner of Fig and Cota.
Call 636-0802 for more info.


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