Frank Johnson

Frank Johnson

1917 - 1998

Born in Leicester 1917; Died 1998

Painter in oils. Best known as an art teacher.

Frank Johnson worked as a commercial artist until he was enlisted into the Royal Air Force in 1940. After completing his military service, Johnson returned to commercial art for only a brief period before going to study painting at Leicester College of Art in 1947. In 1952 he was appointed a tutor at Bradford Regional College of Art and worked their until 1980. Throughout his many years as a teacher, Frank taught a great many people including some incredibly well known artist such as David Hockney. Johnson was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy and in 1957 he persuaded a young David Hockney to submit a work for the Academy’s Summer Exhibition. Johnson was incredibly supportive of David Hockney's early and formative career, helping him to make the transfer from the Commercial Design course, to the Painting course.

Aside from being an important commercial and fine art teacher, Johnson's own works reveal an awareness for artists including Walter Sickert and, in style and subject, lean towards works by members of the Euston Road School whose paintings are celebrated for their high levels of realism and naturalism. He skilfully combines these styles with the 'Kitchen Sink School' (term coined by art critic David Sylvester), a form of social-realist painting from the 1950s that focussed on depicting scenes from unglamorous, post-war austerity Britain.

Johnson exhibited throughout Yorkshire and the United Kingdom, with several of his works being displayed in European exhibitions. His is represented by public collections in Bradford, Glasgow, Leeds and Leicester.

(Benjamin Angwin - October 2014)