Songs to Look At: A Sibling Collaboration Combining the Art and Lyrics of Daniel Johnston

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Johnston Group, LLC, Sep 11, 2021 - 200 pages
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Embark on a fascinating artistic journey with artist and songwriter Daniel Johnston and his sister Marjory, as they share this first volume of Songs To Look At, a mixed media project inspired by a thrift store find. The corresponding work features photo snippets that are morphed by Daniel's distinct artistic style, as he incorporates images with his wild characters, bright colors and word balloons. Each piece is then punctuated by lyrics selected from his expansive and brilliant catalog. The result is a stirring combination of Daniel's visual art and lyrical genius. A testimony to the love shared between brother and sister, Songs to Look At provides insight into the thinking and creative process of Daniel Johnston through the final years of his life, while offering a glimpse into the joy he and Marjory experienced creating this insightful and illuminating work. The result provides hours of reflection for both fans, and those not yet familiar.

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About the author (2021)

Daniel Dale Johnston, born January 22, 1961, in Sacramento, California, but raised in Chester, West Virginia, remains an enduring and important American visual artist, songwriter and musician. By age twenty two, Daniel was already regarded as an influential figure in outsider and alternative music. His early albums were recorded on cassette tape in the basement of his parents' West Virginia home. After eventually landing in Austin, Texas, he quickly gained notoriety by handing out his tapes to passers-by. In 1985, he made an astounding breakthrough appearance on MTV's The Cutting Edge, and The Austin Chronicle crowned him Best Songwriter and Best Musician in 1986. In 1992, Daniel's cult status exploded when Nirvana's Kurt Cobain appeared at the MTV Video Music Awards wearing a t-shirt with the artwork from Daniel's now iconic 1983 album, Hi, How Are You. However, success would not come easy for Daniel. He subsequently spent extended periods in psychiatric institutions after being diagnosed with a severe form of bipolar disorder that often featured psychosis. Despite setbacks and repeated bouts with stardom that aggravated his condition, Daniel continued to produce prolific work, and his songs were praised for their honest and compelling lyrics. Through the extended efforts of friends and family, Daniel released over twenty-five albums and published more than five hundred songs through the span of his career. Originally aspiring to be a comic-book artist, Daniel drew incessantly. His art proved to have the same appeal as his music. In 2004, he finally took his place as a key American artist when his works were featured in the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial. In 2005, his life became the subject of the critically-acclaimed documentary, The Devil and Daniel Johnston, directed by Jeff Feuerzeig, and the book, Hi, How Are You? The Life, Art, and Music of Daniel Johnston, written by Tarssa Yazdani and Don Goede originally published in 1999. Daniel performed his music to enraptured audiences worldwide until his death on September 11, 2019. His art continues to exhibit globally, and with each new generation, he finds an ever-expanding fan base around the world.

Marjory Johnston, born June 12, 1950, in East Liverpool, Ohio, but raised in West Virginia, California, Utah and Texas, earned her degrees in music education and elementary education from Abilene Christian University in 1973. She began her career as an educator, teaching elementary music, and eventually junior high band, and high school band. Under her direction, jazz ensembles won numerous awards. Marjory later taught fourth grade math and science but became enthralled by the artwork of her young students, which motivated her to become an art teacher. After earning certification, Marjory taught junior high art classes until she retired to take care of her parents and her brother Daniel in 2006. Marjory currently exhibits her own artwork in group shows around Houston, Texas, acts in a local theatertroupe, and performs locally with Forever Blest, a gospel quartet that has recorded three albums. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with her spouse of twenty-years, Terry Talley. Marjory is currently working on several projects to honor her late brother Daniel's legacy, and continues to spread his message of hope and love to his many fans. around the world.

Fly Eye Books, Media, Toys, and Design is an imprint of The Johnston Group founded by Dick Johnston and Don Goede in 2020. It was created to develop and produce special projects celebrating the legacy of the late artist and songwriter Daniel Johnston.

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