72" x 48"


About the Artist
Karen Johnson Wyatt
Painter & Art Educator

est known for her portrayals of jazz scenes and personalities, Karen Johnson Wyatt is a true portrait artist of musical subjects, with an approach ranging from realism, to impressionism often times stylized, and recently relaxing from tight portrait renditions to abstracts.

The improvisation of jazz sets the tone for Wyatt to boldly translate this music form into brilliant colors on large size canvases by mixing and wiping oil paints directly on the surface with small canvas pieces as brushes. She was once invited to teach a course in Color Theory at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandizing in San Francisco where she had to decline noting she is more qualified to teach Color Un Theory.....a testimony to her no boundary approach to colors.

Wyatt earned a Bachelor of Science degree in art education from an historical Black college, Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland where she began her art teaching career. Since the late 60’s she has been portraying onto canvases the striking features of people of African descent both historical and contemporary while recreating personal portraits from those sepia tone photographs tucked away in old, dusty albums.

Wyatt praises her parents and the Big Apple where she was born and raised for cultivating her creativity. New York fosters individualism and promotes artistic endeavors no matter how far and wide your travels, the foundation of creativity follows. And so, Wyatt ventured to the west coast where she lived and painted in a large live/work warehouse loft in Oakland, California and continued to develop her talent. Wyatt combined her art with her goal of working with television by earning a Master degree in Media & Communications from the progressive Antioch College in Yellow Springs Ohio. Where most art employment required an advanced degree in art, Wyatt knew back in the 70’s, the blend of art and media was coming of age. In those early days where television and radio stations were not opening its doors to minorities, though minority programs were advertised, the Urban League opened an opportunity in book designing at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich publications. Wyatt incorporated this credible experience with her own graphic design business, plus part-time art teaching stints both private and public at junior colleges and university level.

In 1980, Wyatt published her original paintings onto greeting cards naming the company after her mother, the CARRIE MAE JOHNSON CARD COLLECTION. Unbeknownst to Wyatt, she was suddenly labeled an African American woman manufacturer of greeting cards producing and wholesaling her line of note cards to book, gift, and greeting card stores.

Notably Wyatt’s art is seen on the set of the Martin Lawrence Show, on the CD covers of Club Nouveau and percussionist Steven Kroon, and on the Martin Luther King, Jr. street signs in Berkeley, California. Wyatt has exhibited in many galleries across the country and her paintings are in the homes of many private collectors. Continuous gallery representation of Wyatt’s works can be viewed at Griffin Gallery in Chicago, International Portfolio Gallery in Orlando, Artistic Treasures in Los Angeles, Gwen Ovid Art Gallery in Oakland, and Simmons Gallery in Harlem .