By designing items of no physical use-value, Stephen Johnson explores less obvious facets of design. His work considers how design can exist for the cognitive, as well as our more commonly percieved physical needs. Through ornamentation he believe to design emotional needs like humour and nostalgia.
The objects are created by welding together animal figurines.
Stephen Johnson’s work appears at first as a playful celebration of domestic ornament and kitsch. Yet beyond the ‘nice’ and ‘pretty’, his work uses objects void of physical use-value to consider our need for emotional function throughout our every day life.
Some of his pieces propose a surreal Alice in Wonderland world of escape.
By working with readymade objects he achieves a direct relationship with his interest in peoples need for domestic ornament and kitsch throughout their everyday lives. Such a fascination stems from his own experiences as a child growing up in a typically working class environment where such objects of desire would offer so many alternatives to the sometimes harsh realities of everyday life.
In many of his works he joins together ornaments, referencing his love of classic ornamentation like Baroque and Rococo for their ability to warp so many of realties facets like gravity, scale and rules of nature.
Each sculpture is constructed using second hand ornaments acquired from car boot sales, charity shops and personal donations. This characteristic gives an unique DNA to each piece.