By: Pepper Johnson

Sometimes in your early youth you do not know that your environment is the essence of your total life experience. This can be said of my mother and my grand-aunt. The earliest recognition of my existence, I was introduced to an environment that always challenged me to question my identity, family, community and history.-My mother, Ginger, was an artist in her own right. Although she labored daily in the service of others, and had limited opportunities to express her art because of the color of her skin; and the challenge of rearing her children, she created an environment that was unique to the people in the community in which I lived.-I experienced art in all that was around me, in the simplest things, from the ceiling to the floor. She used everything to challenge her mind as well as challenge me to learn and I have never stopped learning. She and my aunt are my muses, and they lead me into a world of learning, questioning, and exploring the reason for my existence. My toys for the holidays were always things that needed to challenge my mind, mathematics, spelling, music and the arts.-These exercises challenged my mind to understand how I fit in this environment. As an artist, at such an early age, I questioned how I fit in my community, with my spirit and my cultural history. My mind is never at peace because of these questions as to my identity in this life’s journey. For this reason, I have been forced to create to express my mind, beliefs, values, and history.-So when you purchase my artwork, you are experiencing a little of my beliefs, my soul, and my spirit. Each item has a story or a challenge to its existence for me to express. When an artist creates just to create there is a void in the artwork, thus it loses its feeling and has no meaning. I do not wish to create in that way, because I need my work to satisfy my soul, because I have to release my spirit into my work to tell my story and be at peace. Lack of knowledge leads to cultural deprivation and insanity, this is my way to heal myself and others.-I am that I am. My life is to create, experience, learn, teach, and be at peace.

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