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MD= Matt DeAngelis    VCJ= Vernon Courtlandt Johnson  (  1  2  3  4  5  6 )
MD: Just on the wall outside is the first graphic you’ve done for Powell in over 20 years. What was it like for you working on the new design?
VCJ: [long pause] There’s a bit of grief. Fear of failure. Fear of joy.. and joy…. And disbelief! Because I’ve made myself really so unlikable in this life. I’ve turned into a puritan!
MD: You have?
VCJ: Yes! I’m MUCH more discriminating in my appetites and values and lifestyle and my daily rhythms. I had elders that I looked up to. And no framework
of morals to live by. And had sabotaged everything by my early 30s.
  I’d sabotaged the body. All my relationships. My successes. My health. It’d all been sabotaged. No self esteem! So the recovery of self esteem has made it possible for me to engage those teachers that I need to engage so that I can re-create a very damaged body. And it can be recreated!
MD: You talk as though letting go of one life… but the image of a phoenix keeps coming to my mind…. Coming up from the ashes....
VCJ: VERY! Very real in this life.
MD: Back in the day when you left the company; what was going through your mind at the time that you came to the decision to leave?
VCJ: Unconsciously the body was preparing for death. Because I hadn’t begun purification yet. And the urgent question of midlife is "Who am I? What am I doing here? and where do I belong?". And if those questions don’t get answered…. They can be answered in the early years! know… but because I didn’t have elders who instructed me on matters of pursuing the answers to these questions I found the teachers in my 40s. In my 40s I found the teachers who led me to the path of self knowledge. Now I enjoy what’s called a successful inner dialectic. The ability to ask questions and get the answers as the soul needs those answers.
MD: The way I look at it is, in those early years you’re too busy climbing the mountain to take a look around. Then you reach middle-age and you wonder "Is it all down-hill from here? Where do I go?" When you took a look from the top of the mountain at the vista before you… where did you want to go?
VCJ: Towards self knowledge.
people would kill to get in department door
MD: Do you think that you’ve found that now?
VCJ: Mmm hmm! I know who I am. I am an agent of unknown proportions. Those are 7 words that really answer that question for me. "I am an agent of unknown proportions". Those words help the soul get situated in the instrument; the body. They help the soul sit in the saddle that is the body. The horse is the body. The soul rides the body you see.
  What am I doing here? I am here to learn by truth. And anybody can say that as a soul.[chuckles]
MD: Do you think a little bit of your soul goes into your work?
VCJ: Not into the physical product. But imagery is like a finger print. A voice print.
MD: So do you feel that each of your images are a print or a reflection of you?.... or is it more "Somebody wants an elephant for a graphic so that’s what I’m going to draw"?
VCJ: My work is a reflection of something in the culture that hungers for images and at this point in my life I’m not looking to satisfy my personal ya-yas. I want to satisfy the public with art. Skateboarding and art are so intertwined as a culture that I feel privileged to enjoy a market that is so blended. Creativity. Self mastery of skateboarding. Mastery of art. Mastery of imagery.
MD: When you look back on your art, is there any that stands out as a favorite?
VCJ: [dismissively] No.
MD: Is there any that stands out as something you didn’t like?
VCJ: Mmmm….not really. They all represent steps taken to satisfy a company.
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