Student Spotlight: William Jacob Johnson

Dream of Destination 2

Dream of Destination 2

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Piedmont, South Carolina.  It’s basically a defunct mill town which was great growing up because of all the old wrecked buildings everywhere. Before I came to Rock Hill, I spent most of my time exploring the ruins of the old mills, graveyards and riverbanks. The idea of abandoned and once-great places has always been very intriguing to me. I’ve always been drawn to strange, quiet places.  I’ve been a student of the macabre for as far back as I can remember, but for the most part it’s been a comforting thing for me.

Genuine Ersatz

Genuine Ersatz



Tell me about an early childhood memory.

One of my earliest and favorite memories is of seeing the movie Jurassic Park. When the T-Rex broke out of its enclosure and roared. Not me, but almost all of the kids in the theatre got up and ran screaming down the aisle towards the exit with their parents scrambling after them. There’s this perfect image in my mind of the T-Rex, larger than life on the silver screen. It was perfect. Of course I’m interested in many more things nowadays, but I feel that it’s important to revisit my childhood and mix impressions from it with my current mindset.

Describe your art.

As far as my art goes, it’s very eclectic. I make music and I take tons of photographs with several different cameras. I’m learning a bit about animation. I also make sculptures and digital collages. Drawing has been with me for as long as I can remember.

What role does music play in your life?
I grew up playing a slightly out of tune piano at my grandparents house. I play the keyboard all the time with an old amplifier that gives a grainy gurgling sound. I also like to play around with samples and pre-recorded loops. I use, which is an online sharing forum for artists, bands, podcasters and creators of music (my link is
w1How do you come up with ideas for your work?
I can come up with a million ideas. I used to sit on them but now I do massive amounts of work so they all have a chance to be documented. For me quantity is quality.  My latest series of twenty-six drawings were a series of doodles that allowed me to visually express my thoughts in conceptual visual metaphors. It is the engaging process, the journey so to speak, not the end result that becomes the art. Like a volcano, I let all the ideas erupt then when you step back you have a whole new island.
Who are your visual influences?
Trinton Doyle Hanncock, Eve Yves Tanguy and Mike Kelley.
Musical influences?will4
The Unicorns.
What is your dream project?
I would love to go visit the great pyramids. I am extremely interested in world mysteries. I would love to be involved in a research project involving speculatory information and controversies involving the connection between ancient man, cosmos and space. I see synchronicity all the time. I would love to write a book about this amazing adventure.

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