Ervin A. Johnson’s most recent body of works may seem like a result of the current times, but in reality, it is something he has been working on since 2015. #InHonor is a tribute to the lives lost due to police brutality and racism. It’s a reminder that though to some, the Black Lives Matter movement is a new issue, while to others, it is a lifelong struggle.
In his Monolith series, he shows how often people of minorities are made “monolithic and unworthy of respect.” Pieces of facial features are stitched together and painted over to form a new face, reflecting society’s tendencies to paint minorities in broad strokes. Johnson’s works confront the viewers with the reality of the erasure of individualities but still manages to highlight the beauty of the pieces as well as the whole.
Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Johnson received his bachelor’s degree in photography at Columbia College Chicago and completed his MFA at Savannah College of Art and Design. Seeing another classmate paints on a photograph inspired him to do the same, which he continued developing to this day.