Understanding an Artist’s Mind

For the love of Humankind

This breed of humankind is said to be especially sensitive to color and form. Changing what is normal is usually their “hustle”.

Many of this unique brain pool, find it hard to work with others, and see humanity in a world that seems impossible for others, to bathe in what they produce. Another set of humanity express awe, and array them with accolades.

BARRY WOODS JOHNSTON, (barry@sculptorjohnston.com) lives in Baltimore, is a sculptor, musician, writer, engineer, and plays tennis. In his book, As We Sow, his main thrust is about the great divide among mankind. His military experience in the American armed forces as an officer is interspersed with his religious upbringing, and his long association with lengthy stays submerged in the European underbelly of the renaissance.

Chapter three of his book is entitled, THE DIFFICULTY OF MERELY BEING. In a single sentence it just about summarizes Barry’s life: “If being an artist requires a certain renegade spirit, the more you’ve tried to strike out on your own, the more others seemingly have managed to impose their agenda on you”.

His book is over 600 pages, and this fall (2018) Barry Johnston opened his studio to the public. Take a look:

Hair, aka Energy

Work by Barry Woods Johnston, Baltimore Md.

In DC at 20th and L

20 feet tall.

Baltimore Has a Greenwich Village


In the 1960’s, Greenwich Village in New York City, was where many artists from all over the world came to find platforms of failure or success.

It was a liberal town of the Mark Twain’s, and Andy Warhol’s, writers and artists who rejected the establishment, and gave an embryo to the LGBT movement. Students from nearby colleges and universities were the buying population, thus the rise of many bars and restaurants, and of course a population of altered minds.

Baltimore had a little known college, College of the Arts. a few blocks away from an expressway (Jones Falls). Not too far from the main thoroughfare, North Avenue, and near an art loving neighborhood of old English row houses, is  Charles Village.

A little over two decades ago, the College began to gain recognition. The conversation surrounding higher education, was no longer limited to the University of Maryland, or UB (University of Baltimore), it included, MICA. (Maryland Institute College of Art).

Students from all over the world came to attend a top 10 world class arts institution. and then there was ARTSCAPE, a two day affair that covered several street blocks surrounding the college. Buildings were being renovated from as far away as Greenmount Avenue to several blocks southwest of the famous Jones Falls Expressway.

Bars and cafes are now opening up. Specialized films are being shown, just as it happened in Greenwich Village New York, 1964.

On North Avenue in Baltimore, a hop skip and a jump from Jones Falls, is THE MOTOR HOUSE. Artists in residence live above. The Alleyway entrance walls are plastered with gigantic art work; there is a cafe serving made in Maryland craft beers; and what’s art without an entertainment hall, where I paid my first visit. Follow me:


Members of SNAKE CHARM, (L) Corey Hennessey and (R) Andrew McVey

Jasmine Pope

The King of Crabs

Raven Beer, by Tee Shirt 

It has been well documented,  America’s best crabs are found off the Chesapeake Bay, in Maryland; followed by Louisiana, and Seattle.

“Maryland With Pride”. Despite that lofty position of the waterman, other business entrepreneurs, are far removed from that sunlight of success.

I recall the Mayor Donald Schaefer years as mayor of Baltimore City; I recall Maryland With Pride, helping small businesses to appear at the State Fair, at Department stores; i.e. the Hecht Company (now Macy’s).

The current administration talks about helping small businesses, but no help is being proffered. Maryland has an Economic Development Agency, whose presence  is not obvious to small businessmen.

Recently, I had an opportunity to see Maryland small businesses on display in Glen Burnie MD. Here is what I found:

Captain Defense,

Maryland with pride Logo

Stooping to Conquer in Today’s World


When Michelle Obama first laid eyes on Barack, what exactly went through her head? She was already an established lawyer, had her own car, and living the good life. She had an executive position, interviewing Barack seeking a job at her law firm.

As time went on, the car he took her on a date, had holes in the floor, where the asphalt can be seen as they drove around Chicago.

Why would she date a man with no job, no fancy car and no apartment??? (3 question marks). Sounds familiar?  They got married, he, a community organizer, and living in Michelle’s parents house!!! (3 exclamation marks). What!!!

 Now he wants to finish law school, passes the bar, and “walla” (Arabic: I SWEAR TO GOD!), Barack Obama Esq.!  The rest we know: State Senator, U.S. Senator, First African American President of the United States, and on the same platform of greatness  “honest” Abraham Lincoln, the 16 the President of the United States.

First Lady, Michelle Obama, stooped, and conquered.

SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER  is currently running at the Chesapeake Theatre in downtown Baltimore Md. It is directed by the theatre’s founder Ian Gallanar.

With the ME TOO Movement in upswing, powerful men dismissing women as footsteps to the Eiffel Tower, watching this play could be tough.

Anna DiGiovanni playing Kate (Michelle Obama sorts) will soften your heart and

Anna DiGiovanni

Anna plays Kate Hardcastle, who stoops to conquer her man.

make you think of characteristics to be admired rather than attached to men that should  be prosecuted. You know, the ones who habitually lie, drink, pass out, but do not remember, and try to have sex with  females not realizing under their dresses are  one-piece bathing suits.



He is six feet seven inches tall. A black man dressed in black, looking down at you, can be menacing and frightening. But he is a gentle giant.

He is inspired by what he has seen in the streets. What’s in the streets? For the most part garbage. Folks alight  buses, eating candy, chicken boxes, don’t look for trash cans, and litter the streets; CIGARETTE BUTTS, blunt ends, beer cans, left over sexual paraphernalia, lipstick, eye shadow, and unwanted coffee. Not to forget the youth looking for direction, but lost in the maze, thus confining themselves  to the lower rung of the ladder. BRADFORD turned what he saw, into abstract art, stunning the world. Yes, there is truth in the old adage, “what is one man’s rubbish is another man’s treasure”.

 MARK BRADFORD’S work is now at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Here he is, in his own words at the BMA:

Raidne_Medusa_Thelxiepeia_photo Joshua White

 RAIDNE,MEDUSA, from MARK BRADFORD. Photo by Joshua White.

Spoiled Foot_photo Joshua White

Another larger than life presentation by Mark Bradford, an exhibition now at the Baltimore Museum of Art.



MarkBradford_photo Carlos Avendaño

In his image, MARK BRADFORD