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Job Johnson

The Story of Job title was taken from the bible, in the bible Job lived a good life, had dozens of kids, a good wife, a huge farm, lots of money and he thanked and praised God everyday. The devil was talking to God and said yeah Job’s a good man, but he wouldn’t like you so much if you took everything away from him. So, as a test, God took his fortune away, his wife left him, his kids all died, Job even became a leper, but he still prayed and looked up to God. So the devil was wrong, God was right and so God gave Job back everything he once had and much more. That’s where the saying “the patience of Job” came from. One of my friends (even though they weren’t Christian) said I should read that story because when I was in the hospital sick with ulcerative colitis (near death) in 2003, I didn’t give up, and I stayed happy by drawing pictures.

Job Johnson is my alter ego that I created out of 1. My family always pressuring me to make pictures of farms and landscapes for them. 2. Inspiration from seeing all the Vincent Van Gogh drawings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art a year before. 3. Inspiration from my great Aunt Mae and all the stories she used to tell me as a kid. After she passed away I needed a way to preserve some of these stories from her and my grandparents, too. 4. Reading the collected folklore from Henry W. Shoemaker and looking at all the ancient photos in that book, wondering what it would be like living and making art in North Central Pennsylvania at the turn of the last century.

Job Johnson was born. I learned to make paper in graduate school and could make it at home with scraps of acid free mats from the local frame shop I work at. I made drawings on it and framed them out of really old looking tree branches. Like objects and relics from the past, it was important for me to make a story for Job and set him in an earlier time period, the beginning of the industrial revolution. A time when the old ways, traditions and superstitions gave way to the modern and the clash that was happening at the time. My pap (He’s 98 years old now) once told me that he remembered a new automobile, a model T, once collided with a horse and wagon, killing everyone including the horses. I’m interested in the victims that were left behind in this transition, the wolf, the mountain lion, the great white pine tree. This picture has yet to be made but will be, in hopes that people will see the correlation with today’s society.

An alter ego frees me up from the concern of having to be stylistically modern. The work is anti-modern. So I, Jeremiah Johnson can continue to make the modern work that I do.


Available Artworks