Hancock County artist known for unique folk art as well as traditional paintings

Hancock County artist known for unique folk art as well as traditional paintings

WAVELAND, Miss. (WLOX) -A Hancock County artist lives in two worlds. Kathleen Johnson is known for her folk art and her traditional paintings.

A small building on Highway 90 in Waveland surrounded by umbrellas and tropical plants just says Coastal Mississippi. Backwater Studio is where artist Kathleen Johnson lets her creative juices flow to paint unique objects like her famous fence posts featuring images that exemplify South Mississippi.

“Backwater Studio is fun, funky folk art. It’s just a lot of fun,” she said.

Johnson surrounds herself with rescue dogs, cats and birds, all of which add to her unique environment,. The animals can be found all around her studio. If you walk in you might even see a parrot on her shoulder while she’s painting.

Johnson paints custom commissions and on a wide variety of materials. She’s not the typical artist selling art out of a gallery. Instead, she travels to shows and festivals in the region.

A few years ago, she started making boats out of branches, twigs and driftwood. All of the pieces are made out of recycled debris she may stumble on anywhere, anytime.

Johnson shuts the door at Backwater Studio, leaving the dogs, the birds and the cats and heads on over to the Alice Mosely Museum in the historic Bay St. Louis Depot.

The Mosley museum has given Johnson her own special corner to show her work. The paintings are more traditional, not the funky, folk art she is best known for.

The work gives her a chance to be versatile and pour her soul into the process.

“I go into a different world when I paint. There are no problems in that worlds. There’s just me and the paint brush. I get on the canvas and tell a story,” she said.

To keep up with Johnson’s artwork, you can follow Backwater Studio on Facebook.

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