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Iskra Johnson

Iskra Johnson is a Northwest native and multi-media explorer of the industrial landscape. She uses photography, painting, and new media printmaking to express the beauty of purpose in the design of useful things. Trained as a traditional printmaker and calligrapher, she is an innovator in digital imaging, creating work that matches and exceeds the beauty of traditional methods.

Her piece Runway Dreams is art of the Juried Group Show in the Red Barn.


a collective of different artworks presented on a gallery wall.


Featuring flight-inspired works from 23 artists. Explore surprising expressions in glass sculptures, experimental textiles, prints, photographs, paintings, and multimedia creations.


Iskra grew up moving back and forth between a bucolic working horse farm at the foot of Mt. Rainier and a radical political activist home in Seattle’s inner city. She draws inspiration from these early experiences of the extremes of the rural/urban divide and its wildly divergent cultures. In much of her work she explores the emotion of dislocation and the need for sense of place, using architectural forms as metaphor.

The Tarmac Residency is a series of work begun in the Houston Airport and completed a month later in the studio and is based entirely on photographic images made in the airport and in flight. The series was inspired by a conversation with a stranger on a plane. We talked about everything in the world including ambiance, music, football, becoming an entrepreneur when your football career ends in an accident, marketing, charisma, and finally, FOMO: what it is to live with the fear of missing out, what it is to be here now? These pieces are a way of answering the question.

“I use my cell phone and camera to put myself always in the present, documenting the visual landscape of abstraction and relationship that surrounds me. Airports drop me into a liminal state between coming and going, near and far, reflection on the past and embracing the now. The Tarmac Residency is an elevated state of anonymity and absorption, in which connections can happen at any moment – and can change your life. From the minute textures of the airport floor to the dramas of ramp handlers making sure planes don’t collide to abstract aerials from above, the Tarmac Residency is a map of a state of mind best expressed by Brian Eno in his seminal album, Music for Airports. This series is dedicated to him.”

“In the context of The Museum of Flight what my work offers is the human perspective. What does the traveler see through the airplane window? Or while waiting for a flight and watching the life of the tarmac unfold its design? The technology of flight is an astonishing marvel. For the traveler in the window seat, it is a door to new perceptions. The patterns of the globe seen from above, the patterns of industrial landscape, the random accidents of conversations with strangers, all merge in the state of mind of travel to become metaphors for connection itself.”

Iskra’s background includes a career as an internationally recognized letterform artist working in branding design and publishing. As part of the development of her professional career she has spent many years studying Asian ink painting, calligraphy, Buddhism and martial arts.

Johnson’s creations have been exhibited at the Seattle Art Museum and other galleries throughout the Northwest for the past twelve years. Johnson’s works are included in the collections of Kaiser Permanente, Virginia Mason, King County, and the City of Seattle.

Courtesy of Iskra Johnson