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County artist creates art through collage

Brook Johnson displays some of her artwork.
Brook Johnson displays some of her artwork. (-, Photo by Lyndi McNulty)

Brook Johnson, a collage artist from Westminster, has always been interested in art.

"I have fond memories of my mother taking me to art galleries such as the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Smithsonian Institution and the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore," she said. "To me it is just a part of life."

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Johnson was in several art competitions in elementary school. At that time, she did charcoal and pastel works. When she was 12 years old, she took private fine-art lessons from Anita Huddleston, in Sykesville. The classes were basic, such as drawing boxes and spheres. Since she took private lessons, Johnson was able to absorb more information.

Johnson was home-schooled, and graduated from high school early. When she was 16, she took art classes, such as drawing and painting, from Maggie Ball at Carroll Community College. Around that time, she stumbled across collage. She did not think of it as art, but enjoyed doing it nevertheless. She made presents and books using the collage method. Johnson wrote poems and combined them in a book with collage illustrations.

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She attended Carroll Community College until she was 18 years old, at which time she moved to Utah to attend the University of Utah. During this time, she focused primarily on film production.

In 2003, Johnson transferred to the University of Oregon and studied folklore. She said the artistic energy of her new environment influenced her work. She continued to explore her collage technique.

Also in 2003, Johnson moved to California where she met her future husband. He influenced her to think of her collages as art, and pushed her to collect materials for her creations at such places as the Salvation Army. For the first time, Johnson began to view her collages as a form of artwork.

She said she views her life as its own collage, as she has experienced so many different things. While in California, she took several mural classes, and ended up completing three murals as a result.

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She also did a show at a pop-up gallery in Santa Rosa.

"There was an empty house that a group of artists filled with art for one day," she said. "Musicians were also invited. It was a great night."

While living in California, Johnson participated in a collage show in Poland. Although she could not attend, she sent her art over to a huge art festival. Her art was projected on a movie screen during the events.

In 2009, she had a baby. As a young mother, she was still creating collages but was not as active in the art community. In 2012, she and her husband moved back to Carroll County.

She took Marketing and Self Promotion of Art, a class at Carroll Community College, that taught her how to sell her art.

"The class gave me the knowledge on how to market my art," she said.

After taking the class, Johnson had a show with Baltimore RAW.

"It was a fun, exciting night," she said. "They gathered artists from all media including jewelry, sculpture and performing art for a one-night event."

She was also in a collage show at Studio 659 near Chicago, Ill. She has been featured on several websites, and currently sells her art on Facebook to people all over the world. Johnson will be one of the featured artists in the next art show held at the Carroll Nonprofit Center in Westminster. The show, titled "Equinox," is sponsored by the General Federation of Women's Clubs Woman's Club of Westminster and will run from March 31 to June 29.

"I like the freedom I have to access my intuitive side," she said. "I like to use my intuition to create something intangible."

Johnson can be contacted at realcollage@gmail.com. Her Facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/realcollage720.

Lyndi McNulty is the owner of Gizmos Art in Westminster. Her column appears on the first and third Wednesday of each month.

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