Day Thirteen- Ray Johnson- Not Nothing

Today is Day Thirteen and I am honoring an artist who died on January 13, 1995 today.  My best friend Karli recommended this artist and he is awesome.  There is such an interesting story behind this artist.  I will be including an excerpt from his biography from wikipedia.  Please click on link to learn more about him.  Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…

Ray Johnson!

Ray Johnson
Ray Johnson

Raymond Edward “Ray” Johnson (October 16, 1927 – January 13, 1995), known primarily as a collagist and neworleanscorrespondence artist, was a seminal figure in the history of Neo-Dada and early Pop art. Once called “New York’s most famous unknown artist”, Johnson also staged and participated in early performance art events associated with the Fluxus movement and tumblr_moioii4NwB1rk9338o6_1280was the founder of a far-ranging mail art network – the New York Correspondence School – which picked up momentum in the 1960s and is still active today. He lived in New York City from 1949 to 1968, when he moved to a small town in Long island and remained there until his suicide.

In the documentary How To Draw A Bunny, Richard Lippold delicately but candidly confesses to carrying on a love affair with Johnson for many years which began at Black Mountain College.

johnson10-9-1“I risk to say,[that at Black Mountain College ]’anything went’–between the students and the faculty…As I said to my wife the other day, ‘I think I’m a good old man now, but I was a very bad boy.’… She agreed. We had a little house, my family and me, and he would arrive every morning with a little bouquet of wild flowers, and singing. Eventually our relationship became very intimate, so I brought him ray-johnson-mail-art-webback to New York…and obviously, we didn’t live together, steadily, because I had my family. We were quite close together until 1974, so that’s a long period of time. From ’48 to ’74, twenty some years. Because it was a very intimate relationship, a loving relationship. And it would be very hard for me to separate him as a person from his work. I don’t think I could do that.”

Read more about Ray Johnson here.


I found Ray Johnson’s mail art project inspiring and awesome.  There were so many things that I could’ve based my painting on, but I decided to start doodling and came up with my art piece.  Here are a couple of pieces that inspired neworleansme.

How to Draw a Bunny...
How to Draw a Bunny…

I used a combination of pen & ink and acrylic paints.  I thought my piece turned out to be graphically appealing and captured the spirit of the wonderful Ray Johnson.

Bunny bunny bunny bunny?
Bunny bunny bunny bunny?
Not nothing
Not nothing

photo 3

photo 4

Not Nothing- Tribute to Ray Johnson Linda Cleary 2014 Pen & Ink / Acrylic on canvas
Not Nothing- Tribute to Ray Johnson
Linda Cleary 2014
Pen & Ink / Acrylic on canvas
Side-View Not Nothing- Tribute to Ray Johnson Linda Cleary 2014 Pen & Ink / Acrylic on canvas
Not Nothing- Tribute to Ray Johnson
Linda Cleary 2014
Pen & Ink / Acrylic on canvas

Thank you Ray Johnson for your art with me on this day of your death and thank you all for sharing yet another day of my art with me!  See you tomorrow!



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