Issue 11 - Chris Johanson

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Quick Overview

+ Set of 2 ceramic cups
Poster: 16” x 20.5”
Released spring 2010

Issue 11, by visual artist Chris Johanson, is a set of handmade ceramic wine cups designed by Chris and created in collaboration with Pigeon Toe Ceramics in Portland. The issue comes complete with a poster of the moon rising and instructions for drinking wine and relaxing with friends. The bottom of each cup has the text, "I wish you well."


JULY 1989

I moved to San Francisco when I was 20. I loved it. I moved into my first flat on Valencia at 26th Street, right next to the California Funeral Home. Pretty trippy for someone scared of ghosts. The rent was cheap. I was very happy to be living with three friends that I had met when I was 15. Jerry McDaniel, Jeff Denbroeder, and Mario Perez. Even though they were not that much older than me, they were like older brothers. Jerry and Mario became friends with William Passarelli, who had just opened Emmanuel Radnitskys Found Objects on 21st Street at Valencia. We were so amped on living in the mission. All the different types of people. The close quarters. The earthquake happened and there was no riots, minimal looting. On the Contrary, there was a very connected feeling in the neighborhood. the liquor stores were selling beer and wine out of their doorways. We hung out on the roof dancing around naked and taking pictures while drinking and looking out at the smoke from the fires. Jerry and Mario introduced Jeff and me to William. It was such an open time for us. Finding different scenes. Studio 4, Komotion, Adobe Books, ATA, Cafe Nidel, La Boheme, the Uptown, different places to hang out. I became friends with William. He was a very magnetic energetic person. He had this ability to find the special unique beauty out of the sea of everyday objects. His gallery was magically curated. Found objects and fine art( and I really could never see a difference between the two). My first art exhibit in a gallery was there on Friday the 13th, The Flower Show. I would skate over to hangout at the gallery all the time. William would share philosophy and stories about his life. It was a great time meeting all his friends from the art and music world. All the early San Francisco art punk energy would roll through the gallery. William told me he was The Offs number one fan. He was such an charismatic interesting artist, curator, and person. I want everyone to know about him because he is important and special and really effected a lot of people and made a lot of energy happen.  

This art edition is about the celebration of life and that the energy keeps going on and on.  

The edition is wine glasses because it is to do a toast to whoever you want to think about, to good thoughts, to gentle energy (substitute herbal tea, also).

The print of the moon is to further share the idea of gentle calm energy.

One time I made a painting that said Tomorrow is Alright with a picture of the moon.

I refer back to that picture when I am not feeling the best.

Night time is for turning down the volume and letting the darkness envelope you toward rest.

"Be Well"


Chris Johanson

Portland Oregon  6-1-2010



Chris Johanson grew up in San Francisco and is well known for his paintings, sculptures, and installations depicting the human experience and the resulting physical world people inhabit together. Johanson has developed his own personal pictorial language, mixing many mediums and what he refers to as “selfish expressionism” or “the life arts.”

For over a decade, Johanson has been transforming the commonplace activities of the day-to-day into simple stories, frozen in time for us to observe. He comments on the age of consumerism, the corporate ladder, as well as modern psychological phenomena such as self-help and psychotherapy. He creates a world where nudist dancers, emotionally centered people, forest energy, abstract rainbows and “good vibes” exist next to a sinister comic edge sometimes reflecting the human experience’s darkest places.

Johanson has exhibited his works worldwide including exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

More information on Chris Johanson can be found here.   


After settling on art as her life’s focus in first grade, designer Lisa Jones spent her adolescence exploring mediums as diverse as painting and video installation before settling into product design with the founding of Pigeon Toe in 2009. With an aversion to the excess of mass-produced goods, Lisa formed Pigeon Toe with a vision to create uniquely beautiful objects that incorporate and celebrate the extensive history of handcrafts. Realizing that understanding materials on an intimate level leads to refined and imaginative objects, Lisa’s work under Pigeon Toe has evolved with her own artistic enrichment and hands-on study of new techniques and mediums. This growth is fostered through relationships with other esteemed craftspeople, with a focus on building community through shared learning opportunities and love of making. Lisa aspires to find fresh perspective through innovative material combinations, harking back to an era where artisans not only create, but inspire.

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  • "This art edition is about the celebration of life and that the energy keeps going on and on." - Chris Johanson

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