August 10th, 2017
Jesse Gussow

If you’re ever wondering what it’s like to take a bunch of Magic Mushrooms and go on an Absinth bender, look no further than the trippy artwork by the fascinating Monica Johnson. I’ve always wanted to try looking at her work with those wicked red blue 3D glasses, but I don’t seem to have any. The first images I saw from Monica (@earth_to_monica  on Instagram) were her black and white BDSM pieces, which are straightforward, sexy and wicked! Then I found her work of what I guess I would describe as, nude females on vintage couches, that if I could, I would love to have a piece like that of my actual couch; it would be the greatest thing ever!

The minimalist nature of her work is what makes it so different and unique. The colour pieces draw your attention and challenge you to focus; the black and white pieces are subtle and make you want to look and see the taboo of the subject.

Take the time to check out her interview with us as it’s great! Lots of insights, very funny and some kinda weird stories, too. Be sure to check out the work she shared as well.



Where are you from?

I'm originally from Florida, but currently living in California.



How did you get started on your artistic journey?

I guess my artistic journey started up again about this time last year. I was really into embroidery, and I started drawing again regularly with the hopes of making cooler patterns for embroidery. I had no idea that people would respond to my doodles like they have.



How would you describe your artwork?

Ha, I would describe my art as amateur at best! People assume I've been at it for a long time based on my followers. But really, I’m just getting back into it. I would say I have a sort of minimalist style.



What message do you try to convey with your work?

Oh gosh, none really. My work is not so deep. I usually draw from photos, I’m not much of a concept artist. I just draw pictures of pretty girls! lol



If you weren't an artist, what job would you have?

I guess I'd keep grooming dogs for as long as I could if I wasn't an "artist". I’ve been grooming dogs for about 14 years now, and it’s a pretty ok gig. Beats a regular 9-5 desk job for sure, but it’s not something that I care to do for the rest of my life. lol. It’s still sort of a trip that I’m mostly a full time artist now, because a little over a year ago I wasn't even drawing, at least not regularly.



What is your process for creating a piece, from start to finish?

I spend a ridiculous amount of time searching through photos. Sometimes I’ll spend hours looking for the right reference pic because I can be a bit manic like that. Then after I finally find a photo that speaks to me, I do my sketch. After the sketch is done, it’s all basically tracing and coloring after that. I use a light board to layer the outlines. If I’m doing a red and blue piece, I do red first, then shift the sketch over, and ink the blue outlines. After that it's basically just coloring in the spots that need to be filled in or detailed. A lot of people think [I] work digitally, which would make my life exponentially easier. But I am basically a cavewoman when it comes to computers.



What's the worst job you've ever had, and why?

Hmmm, well I’ve been grooming dogs basically my whole adult life, so I’ve been pretty fortunate job wise. I did work at a tanning salon when I was in my early 20's, and hated it. It was mostly pretty chill, but then we'd get creepy guys who would come in for airbrush tans just to have us close to their junk. Then, when we'd leave them in the room to dry, they’d jerk off in the trash there’s that. haha



Do you listen to music while you are working? What do you listen to?

I'm basically always listening to music. Because I never know what to title my pieces, 90% of the time the caption is a song lyric from whatever I was listening to at the time. My brain can be very dull and unimaginative when it comes to themes or titles. I’m a very literal person, that’s why concept art is super hard for me.



Are your pieces based on real people or just from your imagination?

Most of the time they are real people. Since I'm still relatively new to drawing (or just getting back into it rather), I draw from photos pretty regularly. But I usually change a few things to sort of make it my own thing.



What was the first thing you ever made?

haha! The first piece that comes to mind is a self-portrait from when I was in high school. I was actually pretty good with watercolor back then.  



What is the artist’s role in today’s society?

hmmm, I suppose the artist's role in society is to try and show people a different perspective, whether it be a different take on beauty, religion, sex, whatever.



How have you grown as an artist from when you first started, to now?

I definitely think I've grown a lot in the last year. When I first started creating again, I was terrified to use color! So I suppose that's the biggest difference. Also, if I wasn’t inherently good at something, I wouldn’t go back and practice it. Like the color thing for instance: I hadn't done art since high school, and back then I mostly painted. So when I first got back into drawing, I played around with some Prismacolors and hated them! I didn't know how to blend colors and I hated how streaky things looked when I colored them in. But I've since given up the notion that things have to be done perfectly. Art isn't always about perfection. Art is messy, just like life. There is no right or wrong way to do things. Let go, have fun with it.



What goals do you have set for yourself?

haha! The only one I can think of right now is no more scrubbing dog ass in 2018. I had two jobs and worked 6 days a week before. I've been fortunate enough to be able to quit one of them and only work like 2-3 days a week now. So I guess that’s a step in the right direction. I'm just as scared of success as I am of failure, so I’m trying to just roll with all of this craziness and not put too much pressure on myself.



Do you prefer Oreo or Fudgee-O cookies? Or perhaps some other cookie?

Oreos, all day! Mint Oreos if I have the choice.


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