Johnny Memphis is an artist who has traveled the world as a musician, photographer, painter, journalist, teamster and jack of all trades. He began his artistic journey busking on Beale Street in Memphis. He moved on to New Orleans, Cape Cod, and west to Los Angeles to perform in well-known clubs like The Troubadour and Gazzari’s. Johnny traveled to Europe and began photographing street scenes that reminded him of his old homestead in the French Quarter of New Orleans. When he had an offer in the late ‘90s to move to Philadelphia, his first stop was the New Hope art colony in Bucks County, PA. During one of his musical performances, he met his muse – the late Mrs. Lilias Barger, who held weekly Grand Salons of classical music at her home in Carversville, PA. She encouraged his painting and critiqued his work until the end. His folk style of painting street scenes and theatrical venues is reminiscent of his Beale Street roots. His visions are gritty streets and splendid performance halls, extremes that converge where people gather to share and experience life.
“I'm an old fashioned painter, no tricks up my sleeve, only the power of oil paint on canvases. My adult life has been lived in the the after glow of the 60s in search of the meaning of "home." I've recreated my life again and again in the many places I've found myself such that my version of "home" has little to do with place, but is deeply rooted in camraderie with my fellow humans. I find them in theaters, street corners in cafés from Memphis to Paris. From New Orleans to Rome.
My paintings are not representations of people or even places, but rather an inspiration of "home" where humans gather to commune with each other and the music of life."
- Johnny Memphis
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