Micah is a figurative artist who uses strong gestural lines combined with loose brush strokes to create dramatic portraits primarily featuring African-American children. These subjects, which are often inspired by his young nephews, began appearing in Micah’s work ever since he overheard his 4-year old nephew ask his mother a deeply disturbing question,
“Mom, can astronauts be black?”
Although Micah spent 7 years as a professional baseball player, you rarely see reference to his career in any of his works. He sees art as an independent journey with the opportunity to inspire a broader demographic around the subjects of racial equality, chasing your dreams without limitations, and the empowerment of young people.
The artist’s journey and historical documentation through the lives of his nephews make up the new series. The work is soft spoken, conveying messages of empowerment and the dismantling of racism in a beguiling whisper by exploring the contemplation of dreams without restriction from a child’s perspective. Inspiration comes easy when you stare at the children who are living their dream as superhero, basketball player, cellist, doctor, astronaut and more. However quotidian the components of his paintings might seem on the surface--including scenes of a child pulling the nostalgic red wagon eating fruit or readying for mission in astronaut gear, they are imbued with symbolism, historical significance and intent. Mainly, to inspire confidence in children of color to live whatever they dream is their heart’s desire. Can an artist be black? What about an astronaut? These are the heart-sinking questions Johnson wants no child to have to ask.
His latest collection of his work inspired by his young nephews will document their journey--from a pre-to-post Covid-19 world until the age of 18. According to Johnson, they are the future and the ones who will bring the change that we are all fighting for now.
Micah Johnson is also the creator of Aku. After hearing a young boy ask his mom if astronauts could be Black, Micah released an NFT of a 3D animation depicting a boy with an oversized astronaut helmet. In less than one year, that NFT took Micah from a retired athlete to “2020 NFT of the Year” and the first creator to have an NFT optioned for a major feature film. Named one of the “Top 50 Most Influential People in NFTs” by Fortune and named one of the Most Innovative Companies of 2022 by Fast Company, Micah’s foresight and belief in the web3 communities to evangelize IP has resulted in over $24MM in sales volume for Aku to date.