Kiel Johnson - Honored in 2021
Olathe South High School Class of 1993
(Jan. 27, 1975 — )
Kiel’s artistic vision brings inanimate things to life and can turn cardboard tubes into a printing press, or empty boxes into a miniature city as the star of a short film. As a student at Indian Trail Junior High and later at Olathe South High School, Kiel’s paintings, sketches and sculptures were often seen in hallways, classrooms or yearbooks. His talents were honed at the University of Kansas and California State University where he earned degrees in fine arts including sculpture, drawing and painting. Using simple materials and ingenuity, Kiel brings art to life for everyone who engages in his artist workshops, talks and collaborative video projects. In addition to creating 3D works that capture everyday life, Kiel also is a master of drawing with ink on paper. His art has earned the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, and the Durfee Foundation’s Artists’ Resource for Completion grant, as well as the Outstanding Creative Achievement Award from California State University, Long Beach. One nominator said Kiel lives in a world of “what ifs,” and another referred to him as a “cardboard engineer” who makes what he sees in his mind and then shares those creations in galleries and exhibits.