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When I grow up, I want to be Dean Johnson




The folks at the Dean Johnson Gallery (646 Mass Ave) are creatively connected across the city. Their current show, “3D,” which opened in early August, includes furniture, sculpture, and installation art from Lesley Baker, Cory Robinson, Gustavo Tovar, and Ben Valentine. The contemporary work is described as being both functional and solely visual. I imagine I’ll see some of what I call “Beetlejuice furniture” when I see the show, which is open through October 31. At least I hope I do.

Dean Johnson describes their gallery as an expression of the natural relationship between their design business and Indy’s artists, who are welcome to submit sample artwork in consideration for future shows. The gallery owners certainly offer artistic inspiration: their clients include the Arts Council of Indianapolis, IDADA, and Indy Jazz Fest. Dean Johnson designs all sorts of things, including the Arts Council’s hand-to-the-stars logo which I absolutely love, annual reports, postcards, buttons (which I personally request as soon as they’re available during the year), and books.


Two of the books they designed that especially got my attention were Skirting the Issue: Stories of Indiana’s Historical Women Artists and Finding Indiana Ancestors: A Guide to Historical Research. People who are far more sports-oriented than I am will likely enjoy Tourney Time, which offers the scores of every Indiana high school basketball tournament game from 1911—2005. Dean Johnson is also the self-described brainchild behind Indiana: One Pint at a Time: A Traveler’s Guide to Indiana’s Breweries, which you can read more about here and here.

Learn more about Dean Johnson at their website (especially fun is The First 20 Years). The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday and by appointment. Visit their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter. Don't forget about the buttons. BUTTONS!


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