“Legacy of Humanity” is one of several lifelike sculptures
in downtown Cumming that Johnson has created, which also include a farmer and
young girl, a nod to Forsyth’s agricultural past, at the county administration
building, county namesake John Forsyth outside the courthouse annex, Hiram
Parks Bell outside Cumming City Hall, a Civil War colonel and former
congressman from Cumming, and Lady Justice, also outside the courthouse.
Johnson said he is grateful for the interest in his
historical works and said there has been a recent uptick in communities wanting
to preserve their history through art, which wasn’t the case a few decades ago.
“Now, in most cities, it’s in the forefront, it’s in the
business planning and the development,” he said. “People are realizing that the
economic sizzle of having nice sculpture, it says a lot about the people in the
community, it says a lot about the culture of the community and it invites
people to want to move here.”
While his realistic works are well-represented, Johnson has
also created numerous abstract sculptures and feels the area would also benefit
from some more modern pieces.
“[Realism is] great, but when they come across a modern
sculpture, the first question out of their mouth is, ‘Well, what is it?’ and
maybe a better question is, ‘How does it make me feel? Is it interesting to
look at? Do the positive and negative shapes work well? Does it expand
beyond the boundaries of the sculpture? Is it really something beautiful to look
at?’” Johnson said.
“So, it’s not really a sculpture of something,
it’s more of a sculpture of an impression or feeling or just lyrical shapes,
etc. I would love to see modern sculptures start to get a foothold in Forsyth
County. I think modern sculpture looks to the future, and I think traditional
sculpture looks to the past.”