ARTSPEAK RADIO, Wednesday, December 16, noon – 1pm CST, 90.1fm KKFI Kansas City Community Radio, streaming live audio www.kkfi.org
Producer/host Maria Vasquez Boyd welcomes artist/author Stephen T. Johnson and artist/writer Jackie Denning.
STEPHEN T. JOHNSON- Stephen T. Johnson’s visually arresting and conceptually rich body of work forges connections between words, objects and ideas. His art spans a broad range of concepts and contexts and can be seen in site-specific public art commissions, gallery and museum exhibitions, and original award-winning children’s books such “Alphabet City,” a Caldecott Honor and a New York Times Best Illustrated book of the year.
His drawings and paintings are in numerous private collections including those of musician Paul Simon and actress Cherry Jones, and in the permanent collections of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut, and the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.
Among his public art is a 66-foot mosaic mural at the DeKalb Avenue Subway Station in Brooklyn New York, a 58-foot mosaic mural at the Universal City Metro Station in North Hollywood, Los Angeles California, and 33 glass panels for the Dallas Love Field Airport, in Dallas, Texas.
Stephen T. Johnson’s new book, Music Is… PreS-Gr 4–This book blends bright, colorful illustrations and short, catchy rhymes with detailed information about musical styles. As Johnson explains in the author’s note, the text was inspired by an idea found in Langston Hughes’s 1954 book The First Book of Rhythms: “Your rhythm on this earth began first with the beat of your heart.” Johnson offers rhymes that could resonate with young readers. For example, the “Rhythm and Blues” section includes a stanza about the “back-to-school blues,” and “Rock and Roll” details a bouncing game of hopscotch. Johnson’s ambitious attempt to capture the artistry and history of these diverse musical styles in an accessible, knowledgeable format is a solid success. The literal through-line connecting the illustrations and narrative keeps the book flowing, and the careful placement of supplementary information about each musical style allows this text to be read in a variety of ways. Readers can travel through the narrative without diving into the informational pages, or take a deeper read into one of the styles of music, practicing rhythms through the narrative and exploring factual information, before moving onto another style.
JACKIE DENNING, a long time local Kansas City artist has delved into travel blogging.
She first published Mr Campys Goes to… and other adventures which is a compilation of her travels from 2013 to 2019. The earlier trips include Thailand ,Italy and the southeastern United States searching for interesting rocks along the way.
The second half is mostly trips within a ten hour drive from Kansas City in her 1977 serro scotty sportsman camper. Mr campys… is available as an audiobook on soundcloud. Jackie recorded the whole thing at The Johnson County Library Maker space. The pandemic shut down the space before she could edit and publish it, so she figured it out through youtube videos. The paperback and ebook are available on amazon kindle.
Social distance camping was her answer to the pandemic. Jackie started writing her second book in June when she travelled to Lake Superior. The trips made during the pandemic became the new book Bippity Popping around during the pandemic: social distance travelling during corona virus.
This is a travel blog stream of consciousness that weaves the mundane chores of rv camping with the wonders of meeting interesting people and going new places during the pandemic. There are comparisons on how coronavirus mandates are handled in different areas along with thoughts about the American Presidential election( which happens in the middle of this book) and how it affected the handling of quarantine. Read about digging for crystals in Arkansas at three different mines and the diamond mine. There is a lot about places to kayak. Jackie artistically describes the meditation of water and how the stillness sometimes brings out her anger issues. This is a light take on some heavy issues. Camping was considered valid social distancing activity during this time when it seemed the world was falling apart. Nature and the outside was still open, so she took advantage of that. There is some information on casual bicycling locations as well as hiking. People tend to tell stories to Jackie that are passed along in the book with their permission.
Bippity Bopping… is also available as an audiobook/podcast on her soundcloud account.
The paperback and ebook are due to be released in January.
The cover art for both books was done by Jackie and merch of all kinds is available on her cafe press shop.