A Celebration of The Art of Design: Bill Johnson and Rolling Stone Magazine at The Arts Company

Bill Johnson's story is a Nashville story of the best talent and creativity often attracted to Nashville, ultimately adopting Nashville as his home town and bringing his outstanding artistic credentials with him.

Annie Leibowitz original photos and finished spread designed by Bill Johnson for Rolling Stone

Bill's distinguished career as a Grammy Award-winning art director for CBS Records/Nashville began first in the early heady days of Rolling Stone magazine where he began as art director when their offices were still in California. He worked with all of the big guys in music, pop culture, photography, and politics featured in the magazine in the 1970's; redesigned the original magazine logo to the one still in use today; and went along with the move of the offices from California to NYC. He enlisted artists and photographers such as Annie Leibowitz and Andy Warhol to work with the trend-setting magazine.

In the 1980's in NYC, Bill became art director for CBS Records, eventually coming to CBS Nashville, where many of his album covers won Grammy Awards.

Chakra Series: Green/Blue

Some five years ago, Bill joined The Arts Company roster of artists with his own original artwork, rendering subjects of interest to him in the characteristic clean, exacting, and bold style of his career as an art director. The gallery gravitates to presenting his work in January through spring time because his bold palette breaks through winter doldrums. His technique is accomplished and meticulous-- suggestive of the work of Alex Katz.

Original Andy Warhol contact sheet and spread it was used for in Rolling Stone

As we celebrate the art of design at The Arts Company, we asked Bill to bring samples of his work for Rolling Stone, including vintage tear sheets with accompanying original photographs by Annie Leibowitz and Andy Warhol. The viewer will see the pre-computer processes required for magazine layouts side by side with Bill's recent paintings. It's a trip worth taking. Plus, it's lots of fun just to talk with him about some of the folks he has worked with over the years. He might even bring along some of his award-winning Nashville album covers.