Daniel Johnston was born
January 22, 1961 in Sacramento, California, the fifth child of Mabel and
Bill Johnston, younger by 13 years than his oldest sibling. The family moved
first to Utah and then to New Cumberland, West Virginia when Daniel was
five. Daniel learned to play piano by watching his sister Margy. His brother
Dick taught him how to read music. But his earliest interest was in the
visual arts. "I started drawing comics when I was about eight," he says.
"Sometimes they were based on my cat. I made my cat a superhero. Sometimes
I drew about Bible stories, and I loved Godzilla and King Kong. My mom bought
me paper all the time." Daniel began a series of comic books he called "Cool
Comics Presents," laying down the foundation for his adult work in which,
for the most part, good battles evil.
Daniel's bouts with mental illness are well documented, but he now seems to have found the perfect combination of meds and feels better than ever. "It's been almost five years that I've been stable," Daniel says. "It used to hit me like a ton of bricks - manic depression, a terrible feeling, the pain in my brain. But with medication, I've been active and busy and writing and working." All of this is abundantly clear when you consider Daniel's increasingly hectic touring schedule, not to mention the fact that he is currently producing some of his best artwork ever!
Today, Daniel lives in Waller, Texas, a suburb of Houston, with his mother and father. He is happy and productive, playing piano and drawing every day. He will tell you that he has purged some of those demons that used to plague him. But don't go believing that a happy Daniel means a less creative Daniel. "I'm still crazy enough, believe me," he says with a grin.
|Bookman - Circa
Ink on paper(8 1/2” x 11”)