I am Kenneth Johnson.
I am Kenneth Johnson.
Kenneth Johnson is a contemporary Native American designer and accomplished metalsmith working in copper, silver, gold, platinum and palladium. His career spans over two decades and is recognized for bold combinations of stampwork and engraving often incorporating coins and bead set gemstones. Signature techniques include original dates of coins visible in the designs, Seminole patchwork patterns, rocker arm engraving and Southeast style concentric line designs.
Johnson’s signature style of contemporary jewelry incorporates Southeastern motifs and the melding of old and new methods and techniques. His elaborate and ornate gorgets (multi-tiered crescent shaped necklaces) with ancient “Moundbuilder” symbols and 19th century Seminole patchwork designs overlaid with coins illustrate his propensity for complexity and detail.
Johnson was raised in Oklahoma and currently resides with his wife and 2 children in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is the son of Rowena Johnson and grandson of the late Lucinda Walkingstick/Bruner of Oakhurst, Oklahoma. Johnson attended Seneca Indian School, Sequoyah High School and the University of Oklahoma, where he studied mechanical engineering.
He began creating jewelry in 1988, when he apprenticed with Choctaw metalsmith Johnson Bobb, and has independently refined his skills to the level of expertise that he is known for today. Johnson currently integrates state of the art CAD/CAM technology into his design process to continue his evolution as a Native metalsmith.
Johnson’s career achievements include a one man show at the Creek Council House Museum in June of 2007, the 2005 Santa Fe Indian Market’s “Most Creative Use Of Stampwork” Standards Jewelry award, the 2003 Red Earth “Best of Show”, the 2003 Creek Council House Museum Featured Artist, the 2001 Tulsa Indian Art Festival’s Featured Artist, the 1999 Smithsonian Museum/NMAI’s Artist-in-Residence and a 1997 Santa Fe Indian Market Artist Fellowship, among others.
Johnson’s professional service includes teaching jewelry workshops for the Creek Council House Museum, judging art competitions for the Red Earth Festival (OK), Eight Northern Pueblo’s Arts & Craft Show (NM) and Lawrence Indian Art Show (KS); Hotel Washington Art show organizer, during the Smithsonian’s NMAI opening; panelist for NMAI/Smithsonian fellowship selection committee; SWAIA board of directors Co-chair; and Council of Artists chair where he represented the interests of over 1000 artists to that board. Additionally, he served as a panelist for the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington, D.C. in 2006.
Johnson’s work in his one man show at the Creek Council House museum in June of 2007featured over 200 unique pieces gathered from collectors around the world displaying Johnson’s technical and artistic progression over his career.