Harry is not your usual artist type. He is an active sportsman and dedicated family man. Married for 29 years to Adri and they have two children. Harry jr, 22, also does some sculpture and is studying engineering. Audrey, 28, is a personal trainer and spa manager on a cruise liner.
All throughout his school career Harry was captain of nearly every team he played for in any sport. Rugby, swimming, athletics and
shooting. At high school he was elected prefect and was awarded a school honours blazer. Received school colours for many sports
and provincial colours for some. Some of his school records are still standing.
At university he became provincial and SAU boxing champion and captain of the university boxing club. Received university honours colours. Elected Phys Ed department representative on student council. Played premier league rugby and played basketball and soccer for Phys Ed department. Provincial coach for modern biathlon, while member of the senior men's team. Also took part in mountain climbing, hang-gliding and power-lifting. Harry obtained a degree in physical education from the University of Pretoria.
He has been a phys ed teacher, sports shop owner, printing business owner, gym equipment manufacturer, sports club & gym owner and on his 40th birthday he became a sculptor, as a result of a promise to his mother on her deathbed.
In only 10 years Harry has produced more sculptures than any other South African sculptor has in a lifetime — more than 1000 originals, of which most are once-off. He has done portraits of world famous sports stars, celebrities, 3 national monuments and one international monument.
Harry is known as the fastest sculptor in the world and can sculpt a portrait bust in a matter of hours. His work sells for record prices and is collected all over the world. Owning an original by Harry Johnson has proven to be a very good investment. Harry accepts commissions as that is the test of a true artist, to be able to produce work of integrity while taking direction from a client. The biggest and best pieces of art on earth today were commissions.
Harry's work is not available in any Gallery. Having one's work accepted by a gallery does not validate it. It is no form of achievement to have been exhibited. Most galleries would take anything if it will sell — that's the norm.
Harry's work has been recognised to be of such high standard from day one, that nearly all that he has produced has been on commission.
It is also not difficult to get your name into a so called directory of artists, all you
need to do is send in your details. When Harry started sculpting he decided to do a self-imposed ten year apprenticeship. The
plan was to learn the trade and see how far he can get without a gallery or agent. By doing more work that any other SA sculptor
proved a number of points. Hard work is rewarded, and good work will be recognised by most without the opinion of a critic. Too
many artists want fame overnight without paying their dues. Picasso painted 30 000 paintings in his lifetime, and sadly you still find
many so called art experts who believe an artist should paint one or two pieces a year.
Harry has paid his dues and today is regarded as a master of his trade, and a world leader in portraiture, especially sports art.