Juniper Johnson

Juniper's productions are culture focused, where she gives a spotlight on how blackness is represented in media, resourcing current events and her own personal experiences.
When did you first show an interest in art?

I had to be like 5 years old. I was watching my brother trace over Spider-Man comics, and my sister used to draw Phoenix from X-Men a lot, so it’s always been a part of my world. I remember at the show and tell events my elementary teacher used to have, I told everyone I wanted to be an artist and I brought all of the paintings, drawings, and whatnot from my siblings rooms.

Is your family supportive in your decision to become an artist?

My family has always been super supportive of me being an artist. I really don’t see a version of me that isn’t creative or is trying to problem solve out of the box. My mom always fed that curiosity with those crayon/marker kits, easels that she bought from Michael’s, and free reign over the creative direction of my room. My favorite part about growing up was deciding what I wanted my room to look like, because it reflected how my tastes were changing.

Art for art’s sake or art for food on the table? Are you a full-time artist? What’s paying the bills?

I’m a full time artist at heart. In my work I’m an Associate Copywriter for Disney which has offered some gems in itself. It’s helped me be more secure in my art because I’m surrounded by people who know what they’re talking about. Like, I’m across the building from a guy who illustrated some of the original Spider-Man comics. I don’t think there is a better soundboard.

What connects you to your peers who do similar types of art? What do you think sets you apart?

What connects me to them is that we carry the same sentiment of collaboration. There is no “pride.” We’re not too good for something and are always willing to try anything. We are those “art for arts sake” kind of people. I would say the only thing that sets me apart from them is my creative process. I immediately have a vision and have to work on honing in, really curating it. With them, they might have a vision they want to execute, but it’s more about the aesthetics. Which is okay!

Describe your art in 3 words. Now describe yourself as an artist in 3 words.

My art is genuine, and culturally ambient. As an artist, I am a mirror, prophetic, and silly.

What are some of the current projects keeping you busy? How many unfinished works do you have in the vault at this very moment?

Right now, I’m wrapping up production on an eight month long project called “Heavy is the Head” a short film comprised of four fake 70’s inspired commercials. They are meant to shed light on hair politics from a familiar lens. This is the longest I’ve ever worked on a project and I believe that spending time with something really pays off. And man, I have so many unfinished works, but they’ll all have their time. It’s just not time yet.

What does “success” look like for you as an artist? Do you have any dream collaborations?

Success to me looks like having the resources to create whatever I want, and not having my worth or productivity tethered to what I love. It’s hard to separate the two, but it’s for a good reason. My art isn’t me. But I am art. Does that make sense? And for dream collaborations, I would really love to work with Tyler Mitchell or Zanele Muholi. Awaeke Emezi has some great words too, I’d love to just have coffee with them and perhaps work on an interdisciplinary thing one day.

Do you have any habits that help or hinder your progression as an artist? What are some of your biggest challenges?

Some habits I have been developing lately is at least spending an hour a day working on my latest project. Even if it feels like I got nowhere, it’s enough to say I did what I had the capacity to do. The only thing hindering me is when I forget that. Like, we all have busy lives. I personally am split between all of what I am on the weekends and all of what I have to do during the weekday. I am one person, and sometimes those many thoughts or ideas have to wait because I come first. Some of my biggest challenges are believing what I do is enough, but I’ve been working on more positive talk lately. It used to be about comparing myself but I really do understand that it’s just me now. I’m in my own lane.

What do you do when you’re not creating? Do you have a preferred method of escape?

I prefer to listen to audiobooks because they really take me somewhere else. I cook recipes I haven’t tried before, I konmari method my room. I’m really a simple gal. I have to get back into meditating and shadow work though, my dreams make so much sense when I do.

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