Photos courtesy Christina B. Johnson
Bright colors and textured blooms fill the canvases in Christina B. Johnson’s studio. It’s not very organized like the rest of the house, the local artist admits, but that’s okay. Johnson likes to let loose when she paints, and her process certainly creates beautiful results. However, while art holds great significance for her, she never thought she’d be creating it full time.
Johnson was a biology major at St. Olaf College on track for a career in the sciences when chronic illnesses began to take over her life. The debilitating diseases restricted much of her daily life, but she found they also led to a new career as an artist.
Not only did painting work around her inconsistent daily schedule, but it also provided a release from the chronic pain. “There’s just something about when I’m painting… It’s like my illnesses aren’t there, like I’m brought into this whole other happy world where I can be pain-free,” she says.
Painting for pleasure turned into a business after Johnson began garnering a following on Instagram. First, friends and family would pay for custom art. Then, strangers started to order commissions. Johnson, now a full-time painter, credits her newfound career to her struggle with chronic illnesses and how it led to bright, beautiful, and joyful art.
Check out some of Johnson’s works below: