This post is written by guest blogger, Steven Amrhein, Intern at Old Town Cape.
With all of the art popping up in downtown Cape Girardeau lately, it’s nice to see some art coming out of Cape Girardeau. No, I don’t mean that in negative way like pieces are being removed, but rather in a good way as a local artist was recently recognized and a piece of his was chosen for a festival. The Charleston Dogwood Azalea Festival has been held every year for the past 40 years and in 2015, the festival organizers will use a piece of artwork by Johnny Thurman to identify the event.
What began as an idea at work for Johnny is now going to appear on t-shirts for the festival – how cool! He created a drawing of the state of Missouri with the state flower inside of it using trace paper, prism color ink pens and colored pencils. Because this piece turned out so well, he soon had clients from Illinois, Kentucky and even Arizona asking him to do similar work with their respected states and flowers. One of Johnny’s friends took the liberty to post a picture of the original drawing on social media and it got almost immediate attention by one of Johnny’s grade school teachers. Now working for the Charleston Chamber of Commerce, the teacher thought the drawing was perfect for the festival and plans are being made to use it!
Johnny has been interested in art since he was a kid. In fact, his 4th grade teacher even called his mom when he was in grade school to tell her that he had an eye for detail and that he could go far with it. This skill probably comes from his background as he grew up with an artistic family where his mom was constantly drawing and his aunts had paintings hung everywhere. He became inspired by his surroundings and grew to love drawing. Recently, he took drawing a step further and began working as a tattoo artist at A Different Drummer where he is able to tailor his love into a more permanent form. His favorite part of the job is having the ability to make suggestions for changes to a tattoo idea and bounce other ideas off of people in order to create the perfect piece.
Johnny has grown from drawing fliers for local bands to using skin as a canvas while still honoring his signature style of pen and ink watercolors. He believes that doors have been opened for him submitting new works due to the festival choosing to use his piece. Of course, this will be in a primitive form if his clients want something original, but they will also have the choice of a hand drawn piece rather than one created using computer software. “You’re your own worst critic” is the phrase that Johnny left me with. When you spend twenty-three hours on a pencil project and are only an eighth of the way done, I’d say he’s right. He continues to tweak the piece for the festival and explained that it’s only done when the artist says that it’s done.