Interview – Danquis Johnson – Belgrade Art Studio Online Residency


When did you realize that art is your path?

I realized art was my path when I felt the urgency to draw the cartoons I saw growing up. I wanted to draw cartoons and I was obsessed with animation. In school art was always my favorite subject. I would always be the artist or creative person in the group projects.

How do you balance your various projects since you are a visual/performing artist, a musician? 

I balance my work by allowing myself to be free and even make mistakes. I tend to go back to studio practice basics of painting and drawing still lives from time to time and that time allows me to break away into something more abstract without restrictions.

You use different media  Could you tell us about the process of creation? How long does it take to move from an idea to a piece of art? Which media do you prefer?

My process starts with traditional studio practices like painting and drawing. There are days where I just want to make a bunch of music all day. I take one project at a time. Nothing is planned.

What are you trying to communicate with your art?

I am trying to communicate existentialism and my individuality. How do I express myself?  What does it look like when I am expressing myself? How would this visual look with a cacophony of sounds? I can not answer these questions unless I film myself while I’m creating. Thats where film comes in. So nothing is ever done at once. Time has to go by before the piece even starts to speak to me.  Then I’m moved to create sounds afterwards then annex them.

To what extent does the pandemic influence your depiction of art? Does it generate new inspiration? 

My depiction of art during the pandemic has made me realize we are in one of the hugest global movements in history because the world has changed so drastically.  We artists have the chance to create history while history is being made just like past movements in art history. Its unfortunate that people are dying and pollution is harming the environment. Its up to us to give the world an awakening to fix all the wrongs. We can educate people on injustices, inequality and bring awareness to the harm we’ve done to the planet. We can also offer solutions to those problems through art making.

How do you feel about being involved in an online residency program? How important is it to stay connected with the international art community?

I love an online residency. I would like to attend in person in the future however. Its important to stay connected with the art world internationally because injustices and inequalities are happening everywhere and its being reflected within the arts and its great that we can not only bring awareness to what’s going in each other’s countries but to also bring awareness to our audiences.

What are your thoughts about the theme ‘artist on standby’? Tell us a bit more about your project…

Artist on stand by is a time of reflection. For me I am more adept to checking in with why am I a creating and what I am creating. I feel I have time to be more equipped and prepared.

What do you want to achieve before things return to normal?

Before things turn to normal I hope I can help even just one person through my art.

Any future plans/projects?

Yes. I plan on working on more music and paintings.