ANGELA MARIE JOHNSON

With ARTPop completed and the billboards out on display on the streets of Las Vegas, I had the opportunity to interview Angela Marie Johnson, President of AIGA Las Vegas and Creative Director at The Las Vegas Review Journal about AIGA's Membership Week, the LUSH event, and everything ARTpop.

 Photo by Jorge Lara

Photo by Jorge Lara

VIM: First off, congratulations on a busy and eventful week with AIGA Las Vegas. How did you approach Membership Week and what would you have done differently?

ANGELA MARIE JOHNSON: Thank you. This is our 3rd Annual membership week. First we come up with the line up of events and we make sure that they are in line with our goals for the week, which is to celebrate current members, invite new people to our community and provide events that allow our members to give us feedback. We want to curate content and programming that serves them best.

I would have loved to had more planning time to team up with other non-profits and charities.

VIM: It's all about collaboration and the possibilities. This year ARTPop Las Vegas was held at the Zappos Campus with a phenomenal list of new incoming artists. Was there an artist's work that was your favorite or that particularly stood out to you?

ANGELA MARIE JOHNSON: Ooh, that's a good question. I was really happy with the quality of art that was submitted. It was hard to narrow it down to 7 winners. I really gravitate towards Justin's Favela's piece. I think having his pinata's art on a billboard is great representation for what his art stands for. I also love Valentin's piece. I have followed his work for a while. The way he uses color and line movement is really striking and engaging.

 

 Justin Favela's ARTPop entry

Justin Favela's ARTPop entry

 

VIM: Narrowing down the artists is always difficult. Would love to see the other submissions. Was their a submission that was not accepted that you think would have been a good honorary mention?

ANGELA MARIE JOHNSON: Yes, definitely. I absolutely loved Krystal Ramirez piece. The photograph she submitted was so layered and it made me have this unsettling feeling. It's not something that you would see on a billboard and I think that's why I really wanted to see that juxtaposition. I think it would have caught people's attention. And I think it that lends itself to a bigger idea about art pop which I appreciate. We are taught to take our time to really evaluate the piece. 

With billboards you only have 3-5 seconds to catch their attention. So to apply art to this type of display is so unique.

 

 Photo courtesy: Jennifer Albrecht

Photo courtesy: Jennifer Albrecht

 Photo courtesy: Jennifer Albrecht

Photo courtesy: Jennifer Albrecht

 Photo courtesy: Jennifer Albrecht

Photo courtesy: Jennifer Albrecht

VIM: The billboards I think are something that will help to beautify the city and it will bring art to people who normally would not have it in their everyday's life. I do want to thank you and Martin Bautista for reaching out to my poetry organization to collaborate on Lush. What would be your fantasy project or collaboration?

ANGELA MARIE JOHNSON: I 100% agree. I love being a part of ArtPop for those same reasons.

We should be thanking you. The Poet Organization is an amazing partner to have. You all go above and beyond to support the creative community. We can't wait to work with your group again.

I was just talking about this last night at our AIGA BBQ. I would love to do a video series where we explore the partnership of food and design. Most notable chefs are actually great brand directors and have carefully crafted identities.

For instance, Thomas Keller has a cookbook that wins design awards, he produces his own magazine and employs an amazing design studio called Level. Also, David Chang has his magazine called Lucky Peach that I love.

 

VIM: I'll have to check those out. Magazines are an extensions of one's own beliefs and creativity I think. Lastly, what would you say would be your vision statement for the coming year for AIGA Las Vegas? What would be the number one asset potential members would receive by joining your organization?

ANGELA MARIE JOHNSON: I would say our main goal this year is to champion for Las Vegas to be seen as a major design city. We have amazing talent and we want to show it off. So we are creating opportunities for designers to showcase their work, we are creating more video content to highlight our design leaders as well as working with our advisory board to bring back our award ceremony called the Work Show.

I don't think I can narrow it down to one big asset. There are a ton of benefits but for time sake I will choose two that I think are pretty important. One, the networking is one of your best tools as a designer and AIGA is a nationwide group. As a hiring manager, it is great to see the up and coming talent. As a designer you have access to so many creative directors and possible job opportunities. 

Two, I personally use AIGA as an outlet for my passions in design. More often than not, as a designer you do not get to pick your projects and you don't get to flex your creative muscle as much as you would like. For me, I was interested in telling female stories of leadership in design. Through my connections at AIGA I was able to put together a team and we produced a video series that I got to spear head. This is a possibility as a member. If you have a great idea or design initiative we would like to hear it and help make it happen.

VIM: That chance in itself sounds like a dream opportunity. Thank you for the interview.

 

For more information on AIGA Las Vegas visit: https://lasvegas.aiga.org

To view this year's ARTPop participants art work visit: http://www.artpopstreetgallery.com/index

 

Jorge Lara