Artist continues successful career despite progressive blindness

Floyd Johnson has been named the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery's artist of the month for December, Mesquite, Nevada, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Virgin Valley Artists Association, St. George News

MESQUITE — Painter, illustrator and cartoonist Floyd Johnson, who overcame a deteriorating retinal condition that left him completely blind in his right eye and partially blind in his left, was named artist of the month for December by the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery.

Born in 1936 to immigrant Norwegian and Swedish parents, Johnson has spent his life inspiring others in and outside the art community. Johnson’s works have been displayed in the National Hockey Hall of Fame, Honeywell, General Mills, Sister Kenny Institute and the Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum in Decorah, Iowa, among others, according to a biography supplied by the gallery.

Johnson started his professional career designing packages for a manufacturing company for three years before he went on to explore his adventurous side with his brother, also an artist, during a tour of Europe. After moving to New York City, he began working as a freelance commercial artist with his two older brothers. He then moved back to his home state of Minnesota where he continued to sharpen his skills as a commercial freelancer.

Despite suffering from the deteriorating retinal condition, Johnson went on to open his own gallery in 1978, Viking Art Gallery, inspired by his heritage. A year later, he opened his second gallery, Floyd Johnson Gallery.

Johnson had his artwork featured on “60 Minutes” and has had feature articles written about him in American Artist Magazine, Boy Scouts of America, Viking Magazine and the Minneapolis Star/Tribune. In 1987, he was chosen as American/Norwegian Artist of the Year and had a one-man exhibition of his original art at the Stavanger Art Museum in Norway.

He moved to Lake Tahoe in 1987 where he marketed his freelance paintings and drawings while enjoying his other passion – landscaping. Consequently, he was able to take his artistic creativity and apply his vision to “art-scaping” his property. During this time, Johnson contributed to the Lake Tahoe Tribune as an editorial cartoonist for 15 years.

After two years in southern Nevada and two more in Arizona, still doing newspaper editorial cartoons, he has settled into his current residence in Mesquite, Nevada. He is actively involved with his drawings and acrylic paintings with the Virgin Valley Artists Association and the Mesquite Fine Arts Gallery.

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