Michael Johnson


Local weekly paper covering regional news and events gets an interview with artist Michael Johnson. by Tara Collins AKA Twisted T

Michael Johnson - Studio Portrait
Michael Johnson - Future Suspended Between Air and Air
Michael Johnson - Studio Portrait

Meet Michael Johnson. Michael is an artist who lives and creates in Asbury Park. Michael is a spiritually deep dude. His paintings are about a state of mind. He feels that, “Beauty is felt with the body, known in the mind, understood by the spirit”. He uses the study of philosophy, theology and poetry in his practice. A recurring theme in his paintings are a relation between geometry and the natural world.

What brought you to create the art that you make?

The early inspiration for an approach to painting grew out of a desire to embody a practice. I wanted to train my ability to focus and use my attention in a way the would require a repetitive returning to patience and presence. I drove to an art store and bought the biggest canvas they had and the smallest brush. I then gridded out the canvas into tiny spaces and painted the spaces one by one in hues of white and light blues. I had the simple idea going into it that if I paint every day, at some point the painting will be complete. So, I got into the process, and painted every day, sometimes just a few minutes, sometimes for hours. The ability to hold the painting in mind when I was at work and having it as something to return to brought me solace during difficult hours. After about a year the painting was done.

If or when you get lost in an “art funk” (like writer’s block for artists), what helps you get back to creating?

I’ll occasionally hit periods of exhaustion. When that happens, I just try and do all the right things to rebuild myself. Diet, exercise, meditation. I love walking, I love the woods too. I’ve gotten better at keeping the long-term vision in place, the whole arc of life, and not working myself into exhaustion because of short term goals, learning to keep my balance and stay consistent.

Sometimes a cloud of doubt arrives and makes me question if it’s worth making art, but in the end, I always come back to the belief that making art is among the most beautiful modes to occupy while being alive.

What do you listen to when you create? Music, podcasts?

Lately, I’ve been really enjoying listening to Michael Singer, he gives talks every Sunday, Monday and Thursday on a site called, Temple of the Universe. He’s a spiritual teacher, integrating the lessons of the Tao, Buddha, Jesus… It’s very Zen. I also love listening to very heavy metal, death metal, black metal. My favorite album from the past year is by Ulcerate, “Stare into Death and Be Still”.

How do you think the community can better support their artists?

Generally, I’m grateful to live in such a supportive arts community and hesitant to ask for it to be better. Maybe it’s just about choosing to talk to each other about art, choosing to spend time thinking about art. I believe in the power of collective imagination.

What would you like to see happen in the Monmouth County art community?

Jenn Hampton and I were talking a few months back about turning the AP Casino into an art museum, something that could be open to the public with permanent installations and rotating shows. Jenn would be the perfect person for this and the space is perfect too and so beautiful. It’s basically empty right now and seems like a very a possible thing to achieve with the right funding. I also like the idea of having work spaces there for artist residencies. It would be a way to attract a flow of artistic energy, build community and connection.

You can view Michael’s art at Parlor Gallery, Asbury Park, Sapphire Holistic Center, Bradley
Beach and Elan Hair Studio in Wall.

Kate Eggleston


Local weekly paper covering regional news and events gets an interview with artist Kate Eggleston. by Tara Collins AKA Twisted T

Kate Eggleston - untitled drawing-22x19
Kate Eggleston - Change in Gravity
Kate Eggleston - When Ever We Go Out the People Never Shout

Wouldn’t it be nice when viewing art, to have an instant download about the art you’re viewing? I know that I connect better with a work of art after hearing its story. As an artist, you hope people will take the time to read your bio, so they will have a better understanding of your story and the art you create, but they usually don’t. I can’t blame them, I just hope that after reading this article, viewers might take the time to ask an artist or gallerist, “What’s the story behind this piece?” I have seen Kate Eggleston’s work a few times over the years, but never knew the story about what she created and why.

What brought you to create the art that you make?

I concentrated on charcoal drawings and printmaking in undergrad. In 2011, I began hand dyeing textiles and creating soft sculptures. At this time, my husband and I began planning my future pregnancy. I was so worried about losing my identity to impending motherhood that I threw myself into art making. Like a lot of soon-to-be mothers, the subject matter in my work shifted to pregnancy, motherhood, and traditional female roles.

How does your current work play into the theme of motherhood?

The current imagery I’m playing with is that of an amorphous mounded form, which I use interchangeably as figurative and as part of the landscape. I have started to call them “pods”. I like the mark making aspect of developing this new visual language through these pods. They seem to be listening and waiting for something, a calm stillness about the forms. There is definitely a mothering aspect to the larger pods, who seem to be watchful of the smaller ones. Some of my previous soft sculptural work included stuffed, spiked shapes, so these drawn pods feel like a natural progression from 3-D to 2-D. Just like their textile cousins, these pods are tall and imposing but non-threatening. During the pandemic, I took a break from sewing. I had primarily worked with textiles for the last 10 years. The newer work I’m producing is largely 2-D paint, pen, and marker on paper and wood panel.

The pods seem to have a stitch-like feel to them, is that intentional?

Yes, I’m so glad you noticed this! The marks drawn inside of each pod is meant to reference my stitch work. I also sometimes add cobwebs dangling down from the top of scenes which are also like dangling threads.

How do you think the community can better support their artists?

There are so many wonderful local venues, arts organizations and other arts/culture opportunities available to Monmouth County artists and art lovers. If the county is able to offer more grants to artists and art lovers who are able to set up shop somewhere and contribute to community-building with activities, shows, and arts education, I’m also a big proponent of mini grants for artists, particularly artists who are parents with young children.

You can find Kate’s work at: and on Instagram @kate.eggleston

Jill Kerwick


Local weekly paper covering regional news and events gets an interview with artist Jill Kerwick. by Tara Collins AKA Twisted T

Jill Kerwick - The Forest

One of my favorite things about art is discovering an artist that does something so incredibly unique and hearing the story of How and Why they do what they do. What motivates some artists only paint found animal bones? Or another who obsessively paints numbers? While others create art sculptures made out of pennies or rice or prescription pills?. So, when I came across Jill Kerwick and her photo collages of dolls in wholesome country scenes with live rabbits and chickens staged in front of serene landscape paintings, I wanted to know more.

What brought you to create the art that you make?

I like that you mention “wholesome”, I was inspired by old Doris Day films. Doris Day was the epitome of wholesomeness. She was an animal welfare activist and an animal lover. Living on a farm, I decided to create my first photo collage using my own animals in a piece called, “Doris’s Home”.

Where do you get the dolls and the paintings?

I found these 1960’s lady head vases while antiquing with my sister, I knew there was potential to do something with them, but it took a few years of them lounging in my studio to finally figure out a role for them. The paintings are mine, my late father’s and thrift shop finds. I photograph these mini stages and use photoshop to insert images of my body into the composition. The animals are my pets from my Red Bank farm. Much of the work was made and photographed in my bunny hutch. The scale of the rabbits, chickens, goats and cats works well with the lady heads.

When you are working, what do you listen to when you create? Any particular music or podcasts?

In my studio, silence is good most of the time. I do listen to Fresh Air and Talk Art podcasts, MasterClass and SkillShare. When organizing my studio, I listen to JJ Cale and funk music.

What inspires you?

I used to go to Chelsea and the Met a lot. For now, it’s Instagram and YouTube. I go to museums wherever I am, there are so many great small museums, the Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts and The Barnes Foundation in Philly are two favorites of mine. During quarantine and this nasty global pandemic, artists have been doing quite well because they are used to working alone, they are comfortable having to be flexible and are easier to adapt to changing things up or doing things a different way. Artists now had the time to create more and try different mediums and different materials that they didn’t have the time for before.

How did the quarantine/Covid-19 affect you as an artist?

During quarantine, I actually made more work, I did something new and made mini movies about my pandemic fears and posted them on Instagram and YouTube. One video called, “How to Deal with Life Now”, is an adorable storybook puppet-show style video created with doll heads, live animals, farm animal toys with narration and scene titles.

You can find Jill’s art at:
@jillkerwick on Instagram
Jill Kerwick on YouTube,
The Artist Registry at White Column, NY
Beauregard Gallery in Rumson.