Jim D. Johnson of Little Rock, Ark., is considered an icon in the advertising and art worlds, having been honored nationally and globally. This year he will add one more award to his repertoire when he is inducted into the American Advertising Federation’s Southwest Advertising Hall of Fame on June 25.
A long-time student of the Arkansas Arts Center Museum School, Johnson is best known as the co-founder of Cranford/Johnson Inc. 1961. Now known as CJRW, it is the state’s largest advertising, marketing and public relations agency.
Johnson’s career path to drawing and design was destined from an early age. As a fifth grader in Hot Springs, Ark., Johnson, encouraged by his teacher, entered a crayon drawing into a national competition…and won.
After studying art at the University of Arkansas, he began his professional career as a cartoonist and gag writer for Hallmark Cards in Kansas City.
Among Johnson’s accomplishments are designing the 1993 Presidential Inaugural Program for President Bill Clinton, as well as logos for the State of Arkansas, the Save Old Main Campaign at the University of Arkansas, Keep Arkansas Beautiful and the Arkansas Arts Center, among others. In 1994, he was awarded the AAF Silver Medal for career contributions and service. He also received a Special Lifetime Achievement Award from the Arkansas Arts Council.
Johnson started painting and working in acrylics and pastels as a student at the Arkansas Arts Center Museum School. In addition to his paintings, he creates small 9-inch by 9-inch original cartoons, many of which are on display in the AAC Museum School Student Gallery through June 20.
“I believe that to make someone laugh is to give them a wonderful gift,” Johnson said. “Visual art can evoke many emotions. But laughter and a sense of humor add flavor to life.”
The Arkansas Arts Center would like to extend a special thank you to Jim Johnson for his unwavering support and to congratulate him on this much deserved recognition.
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