Cathy G. Johnson
My name is Cathy G. Johnson. I'm an artist in Providence, Rhode Island, where I make comics, drawings, prints and books about youth, confrontation and sincerity. I draw inspiration from my life and my community.
My first graphic novel, Jeremiah, debuted in 2013, and was published by One Percent Press in 2015. My second book Gorgeous was published by Koyama Press in 2016. My newest book The Breakaways is out from First Second in 2019. In that time I have also published numerous smaller works with publishers such as Czap Books, Youth in Decline, and Silver Sprocket, as well as self-publishing.
I am also a printmaker, and regularly work in the feminist art collective studio Dirt Palace here in Providence.
In addition to my artwork, I am also an educator and scholar. I have been teaching various art classes and workshops throughout New England and North America. I have been teaching since 2012, and earned my masters degree in Teaching + Learning in Art + Design from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2017. I share my experience and research on my education website, ComicArtEd.com. I also co-host a scholarship podcast where we talk about comics in historical + educational contexts, called Drawing a Dialogue.
Co-founder and organizer of the Rhode Island Independent Publishing Expo, awarded a project grant from the Rhode Island State Council for the Arts in 2015.
2014 Ignatz Award Winner for Promising New Talent.
"Johnson has consistently been making some of the most beautiful and affecting comics, especially when it comes to comics that explore identity, gender and sexuality." - Mey, Autostraddle
"Johnson has a masterful grasp of visual storytelling, registering pivotal moments more in gestures, glances, and visual motifs than outright exposition or action." - Sarah Hunter, The Booklist Reader
"Full of understated narrative twists and turns, [Gorgeous] is a great short story by an exciting artist who keeps getting better and better." - Dan Kois, Slate
"Johnson's art and storytelling leave a lot unsaid, forcing readers to puzzle out what characters might be feeling, but making them compelling enough that we want to do so." - Matt Brady, Warren Peace Sings the Blues!
"Johnson's ability to introduce larger tensions like race, class, and gender within her comics is so compelling, and has the subtlety and sophistication of a Shonda Rhimes teleplay." - Monica Johnson, The Rumpus
"Gorgeous is a brief piece from Johnson, but it packs a huge emotional punch." - John Seven, The Comics Beat
"Johnson is part of a new generation of cartoonists that eschews technical polish to produce quicker, spontaneous works. These capture a sense of realism and emotion through rough-hewn pencils, and the artists aren't afraid to show erasure marks or unfinished lines." - Rich Barrett, mental_floss
"Gorgeous marks a significant exploration in blending (and crashing) the internal and poetic with the outward and destructive." - Katie Skelly, The Comics Journal
"Rendered with delicate, hazy pencil work, the book's visuals have a rawness that intensifies the emotions of Johnson's script, and her attention to nuanced character expressions is especially important for this small, intimate tale." - Oliver Sava, A.V. Club
"Johnson's storytelling is a little bit Southern Gothic with some Nabokov thrown in - incredibly rich and literate, but also understanding the textures required in visual storytelling that seems sadly lost on too many filmmakers." - John Seven, Vermicious
"Johnson's lines are soft: smudges and shadows obscuring and lending weight." - Zainab Akhtar, A.V. Club
"There’s a truly conversational tone to Cathy G. Johnson’s dialogue, which, when combined with her raw and expressionistic art, creates an immersive sense of being “there” with her characters. Johnson’s loyalty to activist punk scenes clearly informs her subjects, which are so often pitch-perfect representations of young people making sense of living in a system that doesn’t value them. Her stories wrap around central ambiguities, the elusiveness and power of human connection, and the sometimes frightening lengths we’re willing to go to find them. Bold and messy pencils and paint fill her compositions with an infectious energy that drives further reflection on the questions her stories raise long after you’ve put the book down." - Kimball Anderson and Laurel Lynn Leake, Inaction Comics