Samuel Johnson was born on the Eastern prairie of the Red River Valley in 1973. After studying painting and ceramics at the University of Minnesota at Morris, he served a three and half year apprenticeship in pottery under Richard Bresnahan. In 2000, he was invited as a guest of Denmark’s Design School to study Scandinavian Ceramic design in Copenhagen; while also working at Guldagergaard International Ceramic Research Center, and as an assistant in private porcelain studios. After working for a short period in a studio in New York, he traveled to Japan as a studio guest of Koie Ryoji. In 2005, Johnson earned graduate degrees in fine art from the University of Iowa. He is currently an Associate Professor of Art at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University in Central Minnesota and serves on the Board of Directors of Artaxis.org.
Elaine Rutherford grew up in Ayrshire on the west coast of Scotland. She studied drawing and painting at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee before moving to the United Stated in 1992 to undertake her graduate work at New Mexico State University. The vibrant arts community and support for the arts in Minnesota precipitated her move to Minneapolis in 1996 where she still lives and work. She is a member of Rosalux Gallery in Minneapolis and has exhibited extensively in North America and Europe. Her work is held in various public and private collections. Elaine has been a member of the art faculty at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University since 1998.
Describe your work in 15 words or less
Elaine: I use various media to reflect on questions of place, displacement and migration
Samuel: Wood fired pottery and monochromatic, non-objective, oil stick drawings.
What would your dream project involve/look like
Elaine: Lots of assistants and lots of time. I’d learn how to make molds and cast objects in porcelain which would then be installed in a sculptural installation which would include drawn painted and sewn elements.
Samuel: I’d love to start my day in the studio. Daily. Start in the morning after coffee. Work without interruption. Work until the work feels finished or at a good stopping point. Then gracefully leave, hangout with my family, have adventures. The studio would probably be high on a Norwegian fjord or on some mountain, or maybe on the coast of Maine. Maybe it would be a couple of different studios. That way I can move around. One studio would be for drawing. The other for pottery. Something like that.
4 must have guests (living or dead at your dinner party)
Elaine: Will have to think on that one, ask me again at the artist reception.
Your most indispensable tool in the studio and why?
Elaine: I don’t remember the name for it but it is a sign writers tool. It is essentially a long stick with some wadded up chamois on the end that is used for propping your arm on when you need a steady hand for details work. That and the radio.
Samuel: Time. I can always use more time.
What you like to do outside of your creative work?
Elaine: Yoga, watch films, walk, read.
Samuel: Travel. I love international travel that follows some thread – visiting artist studios, making art, etc.