School of Art, Craft & Design

Painting Faculty

Perry Johnson, Assistant Professor

Phone: 931-372-3068 | Email: | Office: 249 Bryan Fine Arts Building | Web:

Bio at a Glance

  • Born in Richlands, Virgina
  • MFA – painting & printmaking from East Tennessee State University
  • BFA – printmaking from Virginia Intermont College
  • Teaching in higher education since 1999
  • Assistant Professor of Painting at Tennessee Tech
  • Professional Work in Web Development/Programming

More About Perry

Painting, representation, and figuration have all been declared dead and still they go for a walk. Painting refuses to be contained or content in thought. It wrestles its way into the world of flesh and blood beings. I approach painting like a filmmaker. There’s a story and then casting, wardrobe, scouting the set, blocking, and direction. From sketches and photographs, I compose an image that is real but quite untrue in the documentary sense. Paintings demand to be read and not consumed. My paintings are mediated images – not incidental, but intentional. The space within the work is active. Charged images and text call in and call out like hyperlinked threads. I use titles as literary hooks and loaded images are symbolic links to other contextual readings.

I can’t say that I’m driven by inspiration so much as by conviction. For most, work has efficiently been reduced to uninvested labor. The individual is brought to the level of a machine. We’re drugged to numbness and to elation, the threat of real passion being too great. Bureaucratized social interactions mimic the machine. Data is now the lens and proxy for reality. All this is background and prologue. My paintings do just what I do – tell stories, crack jokes, ask questions and prompt people to think hopefully.