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Artist Jayne Johnson helps students find their voice

Jayne Johnson has been at Queens since 1987 and has devoted her life to her art and teaching.

A native Texan, she earned her M.F.A in printmaking and drawing from James Madison University and her B.F.A from Baylor University.

Although trained as a printmaker, she also teaches drawing and painting and encourages her students to understand the value of a creative line.

In her still life paintings, there is a subtle and skillfully drawn Texan landscape supporting a more obvious icon, most often an item that shares a meaningful relationship on a personal and universal level, said Christy Taylor, a Queens alumna and owner of Hodges Taylor Art Consultancy. This subject matter may be a child's toy or something found in nature, but it invariably refreshes sometimes forgotten memories for the viewer.

From the beginning, she has instilled a Socratic approach to learning inspired by some of the great masters.  Through her disciplined approach, she continuously inspires students to commit themselves to art.  She is relentless in her support of students, pushing them to reach the height of their abilities, to experiment, to find their own voice.

In 2000, she was the recipient of the William S. Lee Distinguished Professor award.

One of Johnson's recent graduates, Kate Robinson, said of her: "She never gave up on me when I was frustrated and ready to walk away; she would reel me back in and teach me to work through the problem."  Alumni of the Art Department describe her as a loyal friend and mentor.

Johnson's role in projects such as "Beat It," an afterschool program for at-risk youth, inspired students to build drums, learn to play music together, and in the process learn to become independent thinkers. 

"Jayne has a deep understanding of the academic approach to art, and enforces mastery of artistic discipline in both her own work and that of her students," said Dr. Siu Challons-Lipton, chair of the Art Department.  "She is an inspiring painter and printmaker with an innovative approach to everything she does. She helps students grow by example." 

Her office is always full of students, both new and old. They are drawn to her talent and her kindness.

"A deep thinker, creative spirit and sensitive soul, Jayne epitomizes the finest in the teaching of art," Challons-Lipton said.





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