The Armory
128 NW Eleventh Ave, Portland, OR 97209 · 503-445-3700 · www.pcs.org
The Armory

Phil Johnson

“Offensive Images” Collection

Artist Statement

These colorful expressive drawings represent the reality that people of color in America face everyday. When working as an Elementary school art teacher, I was inspired by the immediacy of the children's focus on storytelling, trading detailed execution for fast-paced creation. The students’ drawings simply tell it how it is, be it about home life, fears and circumstances surrounding their future, or fantasies from their boundless imaginations. When I contemplate my experience as an American Black man, seeing the lethargic way the American media traditionally reports on Black injustice, I can't help but wonder about the way our children are impacted. The exaggerated features and skin color palettes showcase the ways in which people of color are profiled, based on hyperbolic stereotypes depicted throughout American history. The purpose of this collection is to show that no matter how much we as mature adults can debate and pontificate the reality of the American Black citizen, there lies a truth beyond this conversation, so evident even a child can see it.

My Statement On Current Events

(Phil Johnson, MP3 Audio Recording)

“Black on Black”

16"x20" 
Acrylic on Canvasboard
2017

“Enough”

16"x20"
Acrylic on Canvasboard
2017

“Self Portrait II”

16"x20"
Acrylic on Canvasboard
2017

“Target”

Acrylic on Canvas board
18"x24"
2017

“Nightmare”

Acrylic on Canvasboard
18"x24"
2017

Phil Johnson
Phil Johnson

My name is Phil and I am a working artist in the Portland Metro area, host of the CoHo podcast Radical Listening, and a founding member of Confrontation Theatre. I am a multidisciplinary artist who likes to express in as many art forms as possible. I consider myself a neo-expressionist and surrealist who focuses on the realities of the human condition, especially as it relates to myself as an African American. My first series “Visual Poetry”  focused on  technology and its effects on human expression. I currently work in Portland as a theatrical sound designer and have been blessed to collaborate and design some amazing shows, including Redwood, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (Portland Center Stage/Artists Repertory Theatre); Pipeline (Confrontation Theatre); Cop Out, Hands Up (Red Door Project); and many more since moving here in 2014. I have also done several installation pieces, including “Free” for Artists Repertory Theatre and my Portland artist debut “Electric Hell” for Cascade High. It is my honor and privilege to be able to share my work with the Portland community, and I hope for many more displays and collaborations to come. If you are interested in my work and would like to see more, follow me at @PhilJohnsonlive or visit philjohnsondesignstheworld.com for updates and contact information.


The Community Voices Project initiative is part of our PCS Remix: Original Works program. To explore the other offerings, visit PCS Remix.

Learn More

Season Superstars

Season Supporting Sponsors