The Artist's Eye: Vernon P. Johnson's Watercolors of 1950s Small Town America
"The Artist's Eye: Vernon P. Johnson's Watercolors of 1950s Small Town America" uses Mount Vernon, Ohio as the setting to document the enduring legacy of this transitional decade in which the first generation of Baby Boomers was born. In the 1950s, Mount Vernon in Knox County in central Ohio was an iconic example of small town America, animated by the tug between tradition and progress. Johnson was an accomplished watercolor artist and Ohio native who studied under the influential artists of the popular "Cleveland School" in the late 1930s and, after serving in World War II, became a graphic design innovator in the burgeoning flexible packaging industry. He had a particular vision for the everyday scenes and values of small town America. In a volume that is part memoir, author Janis Johnson, the artist's daughter and a published journalist and writer, takes us back to the 1950s using extensive family memorabilia and her father's paintings, drawings, journals and writings. She returned to her hometown of Mount Vernon, Ohio to capture the voices of those who knew the artist and own his works. In partnership with the Knox County Historical Society, The Artist's Eye translates the story of one community into the larger and more far-reaching story of the 1950s across America.
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