Featured Artist Johnny Karwan

Johnny Karwan meshes pattern, design, and a love of nature into hand cut and painted wood assemblage. View more from this artist by visiting his website.


"Bumbling Bee" Acrylic and Wood assemblage art by Johnny Karwan

“Bumbling Bee” Acrylic and Wood, 28″ x 19″


I operate a multidisciplinary art and design studio, art factory, detritus rescue, benevolent society and good ideas association from a 1904 Edwardian in the historic Haight Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco, California.


Handpainted cutout art assemblage titled "Imaginary Friendz 1" by Johnny Karwan

“Imaginary Friendz 1″ Acrylic and Wood, 12″ x 24”


My studio is full of an assortment of projects in varying degrees of evolution. I surround myself with collections of things that inspire me like art, books, objects and oddments.


Humorous hand cut wood assemblage titled "Imaginary Friendz 5" by Johnny Karwan

“Imaginary Friendz 5″ Acrylic and Wood, 11″ x 24”


After graduating with a degree in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute, I was introduced to the world of animation as a background scene painter and hit the road traveling as an itinerant artist. For a decade I traveled and taught painting techniques for numerous movie and television productions in film and animation studios worldwide.


Wood assemblage art with a crown, stump and geometry compass by Johnny Karwan

“Imaginary Friendz 6″ Acrylic and Wood, 10″ x 24”


Following years of travel, I began working with international architects, interior designers and public art commissions creating specialty finishes, murals, wood sculptures and site-specific artworks for corporate, public and residential clients.


Art assemblage made with wood and paint by Johnny Karwan with a leaf, belt buckle and old-fashioned glasses

“My Dreamz in Your Eyes” Acrylic and Wood, 12″ x 15″


Hand-painted art and designs reflecting my love for nature, pattern, nostalgia and the exotic have been created for major brands for use on textiles, apparel, home accessories, and a wide variety of products.


Eccentric painted wood assemblage by artist Johnny Karwan of a horse with a lightbulb, flower and pencil.

“A Simple Idea” Acrylic and Wood, 11″ x 15″


Aside from traditional representational painting, I love to create wood pieces cut out from birch plywood and painted in multi-layered transparent acrylics. Sometimes the grain of the wood shows through the transparent layers of paint, making its own statement in revealing its natural origins from tree to painted surface.


Swan by artist Johnny Karwan made from wood painted with a pattern of branches.

“Swanee” Acrylic and Wood, 30″ x 24″


Some pieces are trompe l’oeil translations of elements of the natural world. Sticks and twigs become birds and bugs. Wood scraps become a spider, swan or leaping marlin. Other pieces are inspired by the concept of symbols being the “psychological mechanism for transforming energy.”


Leaping Marlin art assemblage by Johnny Karwan is handpainted wood of a fish with tree branch patterns

“Gladius” Acrylic and Wood, 60″ x 48″


These cutouts are a visual representation of enhancing and giving new context to ordinary images of natural elements or unusual objects, or items that are past their prime or have otherwise outlived their usefulness. Sometimes a mash up of both! I follow whatever inspirations steer me in a direction of creative flow.


Colorful humorous art assemblage by Johnny Karwan titled "Rocket Fish" made from acrylic and wood.

“Rocket Fish” Acrylic and Wood, 11″ x 15″


Though having worked primarily in the realm of commercial and commissioned work, I’ve also exhibited paintings and assemblages in group shows curated by Christopher Brown, Misch Kohn, Richard Shaw, Henry Hopkins, Rolando Castellon, Inez Storer and George Herms. I also occasionally travel the western states exhibiting and selling at art festivals from California to Texas.


Wood and paint art assemblage of a bear by artist Johnny Karwan titled "Unreal Ursine"

“Unreal Ursine” Acrylic and Wood, 24″ x 12″


With a wink at the future and a nod to the past, I am inspired in the present.


Artist Johnny Karwan invites you to follow him on Instagram.


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  1. AWESOME work! Collection is unique, fresh, innovative and one of a kind!

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