Robert Johnson was born in California however he spent most of his early years Michigan's upper peninsula and the farm country of Western Iowa. As a high school student in Carroll, Iowa he studied drawing, photography, commercial art, and ceramics. He participated in National Scholastic Art competitions as well as Western Iowa regional exhibitions. After attending a summer art workshop at the University of Kansas, he decided on a career in art.
At the University of Kansas, Robert entered the Visual Communications discipline where he studied graphic design, typography, and illustration. Taking a basic ceramics class to escape the rigors of the Visual Communications program precipitated a change of heart, and he ended up in KU's ceramic program from which he received his Bachelors of Fine Arts degree.
Robert moved to Logan, Utah to pursue graduate studies in ceramics at Utah State University. He explored many techniques and processes including wood-fire, salt-fire, reduction cooling, and slip casting before settling on Chinese ceramic technology and aesthetics as a thesis topic.
Robert left the MFA program at Utah State before completing his degree to work as a graphic designer and cartographer for Utah State University's Remote Sensing/GIS Laboratory. Twice during his employment (1999 and 2003), he used vacation time to participate in the firing of Tom Harnack's Anagama kiln in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska. These firing vacations were pivotal in rekindling Robert's return to the ceramic medium.
By 2004, the pull of working in clay became too strong to ignore. In November 2004 Robert left Utah to join Omaha Clayworks in Omaha, Nebraska to create ceramic work full time. In the short time since his return to studio clay work, Robert's pieces have been included in several notable national juried exhibitions, as well as completing several commissions. Robert is also a jury slide photographer and digital image consultant. He continues to maintain his Omaha Clayworks studio in Omaha, Nebraska.
Beyond the Function-International Contemporary Teapot Exhibition, French Designer Jeweler, Scotsdale, AZ
The Seven Year Itch, Seven Year Anniversary Invitational, Louisville Art Gallery, Louisville, NE
Contemporary Clay Biennial 2008, The Western Colorado Center for the Arts, Grand Junction, CO
Six Year Anniversary Invitational, Louisville Art Gallery, Louisville, NE
National Juried Ceramics Exhibition, Lawrence Arts Center, Lawrence, KS, Honorable Mention
Wood Fire Pottery Invitational Exhibit, Pottworks Studio and Gallery, Hamilton, MI
Bowls 2007, Cultural Arts Building Gallery, University of North Carolina Wilmington, Wilmington, NC
27th Annual July National Show, Franklin Square Gallery, Southport, NC, Merit Award, Honorable Mention
Jersey Shore Clay National, m.t. burton gallery, Surf City, NJ
Biennial Exhibition of Functional Ceramics, Guilford Art Center, Guilford, CT
Omaha Area Ceramics Invitational Art Exhibition, Hillmer Art Gallery, College of St. Mary, Omaha, NE
Vessels 2007, Claymakers, Durham, NC
Fine Contemporary Crafts, Artspace, Raleigh, NC
Oil and Soil, Louisville Art Gallery, Louisville, NE
Crafts National, Lancaster Museum of Art, Lancaster, PA
Skin Deep, Hyman Fine Arts Center, Francis Marion University, Florence, SC
Starbrick Clay National, Starbrick Clay, Nelsonville, OH
Affinity for the Cup II, Exploding Head Gallery, Sacramento, CA