• 41°

A downsizing casualty, Darren Johnson reinvents himself as an artist

By Katie Scarvey
kscarvey@salisburypost.com
Can a bad economy ever be a good thing?
Perhaps so, if it gives someone the push needed in order to pursue a passion, rather than simply a paycheck.
Although it wasn’t how he’d envisioned his life, Darren Johnson of Charlotte found himself working in a corporate job that paid well but didn’t excite him.
Not long ago, the office in which he worked was eliminated, a casualty of a tough economy.
Instead of polishing up a resumé focusing on his corporate skills and setting his sights on the kind of job he’d had before, Johnson decided it was time to return to his first love: art.
He’s now happy to be spending his days pursuing art as a full-time job, and lately, he’s been doing it in Salisbury.
Those around Darren recognized his artistic talent early on, and he’s been frequently tapped to do various art projects for friends and family since he was a teenager.
In college, he earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in illustration. He later got a master’s degree in education.
After teaching for a while, he landed in Asheville and found himself working in corporate training and information technology.
His jobs, he says, were “far removed from art.”
After his job disappeared, he consulted with wife Meg, who works for Merrill Lynch, and they agreed he should take a year to pursue art full-time to see if he could make it work. He’s converted a bedroom in his home to an art studio.
So far, he’s relishing the change.
“It’s a hundred times better than sitting at a desk,” he says.
He loves the freedom to come and go, and and is confident in his skills; now the challenge, he says, is to figure out the business aspect of being an artist.
He markets his services through word of mouth. He prefers not to use a computer in his design work, preferring the directness and tactile nature of putting hand to paper.
The first project of his new vocation was to paint a nursery.
Most recently, he’s been creating a garden-themed mural for Barb and Cliff Sorel, who are sprucing up their garden since their Fulton Street home will be a stop on the Symphony Guild’s Festival of Summer Gardens tour coming up June 25-26.
The Sorels have lived at 603 S. Fulton St. since 1999 and have transformed the gardens that were overwhelmed by old boxwoods into a lovely and welcoming space.
Darren’s canvas for the mural is Barb’s potting shed. The Sorels added the shed to the side of their house so that Barb wouldn’t have to store all of her gardening supplies in the garage. The shed’s attractively weathered door came from the basement, Barb says.
Barb gave Darren a list of items that she wanted to appear in the scene.
“She wanted a little bit of everything,” he says, including bees, a hummingbird, gardening gloves, seeds and a watering can.
Darren has known the Sorels for 12 years, a relationship that came out of his wife, Meg, working with Cliff. In fact, Barb and Cliff were travelling with Darren and Meg in Italy when Darren proposed to Meg, so the couples share plenty of happy history.
As an artist, Johnson’s specialties include nurseries, game rooms, pet portraits, corporate logos and T-shirt designs. He can be contacted by email at darren@drawnbydarren.com or by phone at 980-285-7239.
 
 
 
 

Comments

Comments closed.

News

Facing personnel deficiencies, local fire departments request tax rate increases

Local

‘Panic buying’ creates gas supply shortages locally, statewide after pipeline cyberattack

Business

Twice as nice: Planet Smoothie opens alongside Cold Stone Creamery in co-branded store

Local

Spencer board gets update on South Iredell rat problem

Education

West Rowan teacher awarded $15,000 outdoor learning grant

Cleveland

Town of Cleveland plans celebration May 22

High School

High school girls tennis: Busy Hornets win again easily

High School

High school softball: Nixon, Walton top all-county team

Education

All Hood Alumni and Friends Symposium scheduled June 18

Education

Shoutouts: Southern City Church awards educational gifts

Local

City to pave streets surrounding Bell Tower Green after park is constructed

Nation/World

Colonial Pipeline restarts operations days after major hack

Nation/World

Ohio’s million-dollar idea: Lottery prizes for vaccinations

Nation/World

GOP dumps defiant Trump critic Cheney from top House post

Nation/World

Israel steps up Gaza offensive, kills senior Hamas figures

Coronavirus

Fluctuating COVID-19 death number back to 302 in Rowan County

Crime

Habitual felon sentenced to at least 8 years in prison

Kannapolis

City of Kannapolis to have bike rodeo Saturday

Crime

Two more charged for operating illegal gambling businesses

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day

Business

Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy

High School

High school baseball: Padgett leads Mustangs; 100th win for West coach Graham

Coronavirus

RSS superintendent, Board of Health discuss strategies for increasing student vaccination rates

Education

East Spencer charter school files petition to contest charter revocation