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Indiana Artist To Open Bloomington Art Show About Mental Illness, Addiction

Beautiful Doom

"Beautiful Doom" features paintings from local artist Brian Johnson. (Brian Johnson)

Brian Johnson has struggled with addiction and mental illness since he was 14 years old. He has lived in Austin, Ind. his whole life and was there during one of the biggest drug-fueled HIV outbreaks to ever hit a small town in America.

When he hit rock bottom in 2015, he decided to take matters into his own hands. All he needed was a canvas, some paint, and a paintbrush.

Now an “addict turned artist,” Johnson says he’s able to fight his addiction and mental illness through painting.

“It’s just all the things I had to do to get to this spot from where I was working from," he says. "With just my phone… that’s all I had, I didn’t have a computer. Just two books, my phone, some brushes and paint and to get to here, it’s been a very hard and tough road."

Johnson tells his story of his dark past with light. Although some of his paintings may seem gloomy, he says they hold a sense of hope.

He says the show is named "Beautiful Doom" because of how beautiful yet short life is.

“For the people that come to my show, I want them to just enjoy their time there," Johnson says. "They don’t have to feel what I felt but I do want them to be hopefully be pleased for just a moment."

The exhibit opens this weekend at coworking venue The Mill and closes the end of November.

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