Mitchell Johnson in his California studio August, 2017

California artist, Mitchell Johnson, has moved seamlessly between abstraction and representation for more than thirty years.  His color and shape driven paintings explore the complexity of  our visual sense while serving as reminders of the impact of context on all of our perceptions.

Johnson’s paintings have appeared frequently in ARTnews, ArtForumArt in America and the New York Times Magazine.  Johnson’s paintings are not available in galleries. He is married to the novelist, Donia Bijan.




Johnson’s paintings have also appeared in Oprah’s Next Chapter, The Mindy Project,  American Art Collector, Southwest Art, San Francisco Magazine, Provincetown Arts, Cape Arts Review, ArtScope, Art Ltd., Modern Painters, The NY Times T Magazine, Sunset Magazine, Corriere Della Sera, Savvy Painter, Gentry, The Huffington Post, American Contemporary Art, Silicon Valley Magazine, The Palo Alto Weekly, Revenge (Season 3) and many feature films including The Holiday (2006)It’s Complicated (2009), The Lodger (2009), and Crazy Stupid Love (2011).

Based in Silicon Valley, Mitchell Johnson moved to California in 1990 after completing his MFA at Parsons School of Design in New York City.  Johnson was heavily influenced by his NYC teachers Paul Resika, Leland Bell, Larry Rivers, Robert DeNiro, Sr., John Heliker and Nell Blaine – many former students of Hans Hofmann.   Johnson divides his time between his California studio and his favorite painting locations in Italy, France, Cape Cod, Switzerland and Denmark.  His paintings can be found in over 700 collections including the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Frederick R. Weisman Museum at Pepperdine, New Britain Museum of American Art, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art and the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC.  Johnson’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions in San Francisco, Los Angeles, St. Helena, Portland, New York, Oakland, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Washington, DC and Kansas City.    All of his publications are for sale at  He is married to the writer, Donia Bijan.

Staten Island Academy, 1975-1979

Colonial Heights High School, 1979-1982

Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, VA; B.S. 1986

-Studied with Raymond Berry

Washington Studio School, Washington, D.C., 1987-88

-Studied with Jo Weiss, Lee Newman, Jack Boul and David Holt

Docent National Gallery of Art, 1987-88

Parsons School of Design, New York City; M.F.A. 1990

     -Studied w/ Paul Resika, Leland Bell, John Heliker, Robert DeNiro, Sr., Nell Blaine

     and Larry Rivers

Studio Assistant to Abram Schlemowitz, New York, NY, 1989-90

Studio Assistant to Sam Francis, Palo Alto, CA, 1990-91

Santa Fe Art Institute with Wolf Kahn, Santa Fe, NM, 1992

New York Studio School Drawing Marathon with Graham Nickson, 2000

Artist in Residence, Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Bethany, CT, 2009

Artist in Residence, Borgo Finocchieto, Bibbiano, Italy

Visiting Artist, American Academy in Rome, 2015