Creative Collaboration: Ervin A. Johnson

I've watched Project Genesis evolve from single stand alone images into a line of deities. Ervin Johnson has honed a magical way of building up his images and simultaniously breaking them down with layers of mixed mediums. By doing this he has found a way of immortilizing his subjects. 

In his last quarter of his M.F.A. at SCAD Atlanta, Ervin Johnson held his thesis show at Fuse Gallery in downtown Atlanta. 

I got a chance to sit with my close friend and speak in depth about his work and the endless possibilities he sees in his future.

In 2 words describe project genesis?

A renegotiation. 

What about your background do you think influenced your work other than your sexual orientation?

I feel alone sometimes. Creating this mythology helps to empower me when I'm at my lowest. There's a quiet power in creating for yourself what you didn't have access to before. 

Where do you see your work in 5 years?

Everywhere. I'm aware of how corny this may sound but I want to create change. I don't want any young black man, gay or straight, to feel how I did. I felt so alone and it's important to me that they know they aren't. 

Who & what inspires your work?

Kehinde Wiley. Jean-Michel Basquiat. The endless love from my mother and sister. The absolute anguish from my failed relationship. Friendships. Coming out. Existing as a black man. 

What do you do to get inspired?

Go to Kehinde Wiley's website. Meditating.

Whats a day in a life of Ervin Johnson like?

Outwardly, very monotonous. Inwardly, very frantic. I'm always worried about something and itching to create, teetering on the edge of insanity. 

Tequlia or vodka?

Neither. Whiskey.

Boxer or briefs?

Boxer briefs. 

Describe your ideal man?

Intelligent. Loyal. Kind. Compassionate. Beautiful to me and sees me as the most beautiful. Someone who will stay up with me into the wee hours of the morning laughing and being silly. Someone who appreciates how selfless I can be and won't ever take advantage of me. 

Is the beard a statement or a new look?

A little of both. Whenever I enter a new stage of life I take on a look. 

What are you planning for life after SCAD?

I'm not sure. I've learned to trust the journey and so I'm not afraid of where I'm headed. I know wherever I'm headed is beautiful. 

Marry, kill, fuck. Hilary Clinton, Drake & Lady Gaga

Marry Drake, fuck Lady Gaga, kill Hilary Clinton. 


My dear friend, I wish you all the best wishes that possibly exsist in this universe! I know for a fact that whatever you do and wherever you go you will excel.  

I love you.

View more of Project Genesis on his website 

cheers.