PIHS Featured Artist: Signey Johnston ’21

Wyatt Young, Staff writer

Signey Johnston, “Cry me a River,” Acrylic.

I made this piece right before I turned in my college applications. It’s stemmed from the doubt and worry that comes with wanting to be an artist. It’s a representation of how hard but how beautiful this life style can be, and even in all the doubt, you can still find light.








Signey Johnston, “Youths Cradle,” Work on paper; Colored Pencil & Newspaper Clippings.



I poured myself into this piece, integrating my experience growing up with the verbally unexplainable emotions that tagged along. Red magazine clippings were used to replicate the passion my childhood gave me to grow with my past. The muted blue and gray colored pencil moon seeping smoke from its mouth is the embodiment of young eyes watching addiction destroy the people I love. Its hollow cheeks and sunken expression matching my friends and family. As for the young child drawing the image, they represent the coping I found through creating art. My art was my caregiver, holding me when no one else would.


Signey Johnston, “Disavow,” Work on Paper; Lead.

“Disavow” is a fairly recent piece in which I used the observational approach. Often I find myself disconnected with my reflection, and lack a mind and body connection. So, while staring at myself, I mirrored the restraint and denial of what I see within the mirror.










Signey Johnston, “Tummy Ache,” Magazine Clippings.

Other than patterned paper, and magazine cutouts, the expectations of a woman make up this piece. Many women grow up believing billboards of starving smiling ladies, and youths covered shoulders is normal. Tummy Ache is meant to highlight the issues society has instilled onto women, and show the standards shoved down our throats from life until death. As the stomach is filled with unnatural expectations such as perfectly smooth skin and a permanent smile, the children sit at the bottom waiting to be fed its toxins.






Signey Johnston, “Big Shoes to Fill,” Work on Paper; Lead and Marker.


This piece was part of a small series I did with a scarce use of color compared to what you’ll often find in my artwork. My observational approach of this piece lacks color as it reflects the mental solitude I endured during a childhood filled with the responsibilities of parents enraptured in addiction. This piece, overall, is a physical representation of how I felt while raising my mother and sisters. My youth is seen holding her stance in the tar of responsibility, as my maturity grows with my experiences rather than my physical age. My mediums in Big Shoes to Fill were nothing but lead and marker, to fit the simplicity of the series.


Signey Johnston, “Where Their Eyes Lean,” Acrylic.

This piece is made up of acrylic paint, and a seemingly abundant amount of googly eyes on canvas. During this painting, I was struggling with the pressures, jealousy, and anxiety that comes with growing older. The half caterpillar, half butterfly woman is often how I view myself. She’s in the midst of transformation, but not quite there yet. In regards to the googly eyes, I wanted to represent the enclosing anxiety of constantly feeling watched and judged with something that would protrude from the piece, rather than being one dimensional. Color was also a prominent factor in Where Their Eyes Lean. My use of a bold green for her coiling body represents the overwhelming envy I feel towards those who success comes easy to, and her pink face the blush of my bitterness.


Signey Johnston, “Muted Movement,” Work on Paper; Lead.

Silenced voices are the focus on this work of art, made of strictly lead. With the loss of mind and body connection I’m trying to portray here, I found it necessary to keep the work in grayscale. I wanted to showcase the vacant feeling that comes with a running mind and shut mouth, which I can only describe as static. People often overlook the roles many mentally ill people put on for the sake of others, and how it conflicts with how they really feel, and who they really are. As well as nodding at the feline stealth required to fight the battle of silenced truth.