Jameel Johnston has lived in Corpus Christi since moving from Massachusetts at the age of 6. He describes this town as a nice city by the water and calls his work "wire sculptures," "wire drawings," or "wire art," which makes sense, seeing as he goes by Artsy Wire.
How did you start?
I started bending wire in a design class in college. When our assignment was due, I realized I had a gift.
When did you start selling?
It wasn’t until recently that I started selling. Friends and family ask me to make things for special occasions. The first request I can remember a friend asked if I could make him something for his girlfriend’s birthday. I made shears because she was a beautician. Now I can do more detail with wire and I feel confident that I can make anything I want.
What is it you find interesting about art?
Art is interesting to me because of the possibilities. You can make many different things that look the same but aren’t exactly the same.
Do you have any other mediums?
I’ve remade a Jacob Lawrence painting out of layers of poster board. I also have an abstract piece of plaster I sculpted from the same design class where I learned to bend wire. I have a few paintings, and even made a few prints of some of them. I used to paint a lot before I picked up wire.
When do you feel the most accomplished?
I feel accomplished someone tells me that my art makes them happy.
What inspires you to keep creating?
My friends and family inspire me to keep creating. I think it would be selfish to not give people the art they want. In my opinion I think people are looking forward to see what I'm going to make next. It's nice to have purpose in life.
Have you been inspired by anybody?
Everyday. All my friends and family inspire me all the time, even you.
What are your strengths?
My attitude is a good strength of mine. I don’t give up after the first attempt, I try to see the cup half full. I do my best to treat people with respect. Also Karma, I feel like the energy I put out, I’ll receive.
What are your weaknesses?
Doubting my potential is a weakness. At times I’m uncertain of how well my requests turn out. I like to get someone’s opinion about my artwork before I call it complete. I also feel as if I could be better at communicating.
Has anything pleasantly surprised you?
Solidarity Market surprised me. Meeting and working with local venders with positive attitudes was great. The Solidarity market took my art to the next level because General Goods Vintage reached out to me after, that was a pleasant surprise. I didn't understand what it really meant but it solidified more of the small businesses, of people up and coming. Really, the solidarity market solidified the relationships in those businesses. It was cool to find out what it was because Green Light Coffee House asked me to join. It was nice for Green Light to think of having me participate.
Was there anything that held you back before that doesn't hold you back now?
No, I don’t feel like anything has really held me back. I’ve been keeping it moving. If anything was holding me back I have to say it would be COVID-19. COVID-19 ruined my plans for an upcoming art show.
Is there anything you've learned that you wish you would have known in the beginning?
I wish I would have known how much potential I had. I probably would have invested more time.
How would you define success?
Doing what you want to do. If you want to be a trash man and you become a trash man. That to me is success, doing what you want to do. If a person puts their mind to a goal and reaches that goal, that is success.
What are your dreams?
My dreams are to be a wire artist and live peacefully. I dream that life is peaceful. World peace would be a dream.