Rick Johns received his BFA and MFA in painting from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion where he subsequently taught art for several years. He was also an art instructor at Wayne State College in Nebraska. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions.
He is the runner up in the th Biennial SD Governors Art Exhibition currently on view and received a 2015 grant from the South Dakota Arts Council. His work is in the collections of the Sioux City Art Center, IA, and the South Dakota Art Museum in Brookings.
Rick took a 12 year hiatus from painting until 2010. During that period much of his time was spent designing and building boats. It brought together his woodworking skills and his design sensibilities to create functional forms that innately possessed and elicited a strong sense of beauty. That distance from the Art world has allowed him to shed theory and academia and create work that is grounded, personal and honest. A painting is a result of a process, not unlike anything made from raw materials, and is complete when a similar sense of beauty or “rightness” is felt.
He lives in Vermillion where he is a craftsman who still designs and builds a multitude of projects from custom remodeling to site specific woodworking projects to a straw bale house. This aspect of his life has had the greatest influence on his recent painting. It is from the countless marks, notes and sketches involved in a building project to the uncovering and discovery of beauty in something that is being dismantled that is most directly inspiring his work. These remnants possess value because they have a genuine freshness and honesty. His paintings, as a result, aim to possess similar qualities and elicit an intrinsic sense of wholeness.