Leni Johnston is a visual artist who moves seamlessly between different worlds – nature and photography. After purchasing a large property years ago, Leni began to develop a powerful understanding of the connection between the environment and humanity, and this is evident in the life that she has crafted for herself. Using her garden as inspiration, Leni has been able to bring to light the beautiful intricacies of natural objects and give them a voice unheard of before. Flowers become seductive mysteries, smoke dances with light and landscapes transport you.
Perhaps it is the balance between those worlds that give her yet another skill – visual problem-solving. Leni has an uncanny ability to see inefficiencies in work and life and quickly develop an elegant solution to the problem. On numerous occasions, Leni has used her power to manage large-scale projects, renovations, installations, and presentations. Organizational challenges are tackled with a keen sense of Tetris-like mastery and solved with visually soothing results.
All of this makes Leni Johnston a rare individual – one who dispels the conventional thinking of choosing between the left brain or right brain and as a result generates unique creative insight.
Which ’hood are you in?
I grew up in Toronto but now divide my time between a place in Etobicoke and a cottage/studio on the shores of Lake Erie. I love the mix of urban time and the quiet of the country and my style tends to reflect both. During COVID, we spent almost all of our time developing our acre of land at the cottage, trying to make it as sustainable as possible and growing our own food.
What do you do?
I am a photographer who moonlights as a writer, project manager and gardener, depending on the situation. Living sustainably drives almost everything I do and working for the environment is my primary mission. During COVID, living in the country took precedence and so my husband and I developed a “living sustainably blog” where we talk about the challenges of zero waste living. It ain’t easy that’s for sure. I also went back and reorganized my photo collection, developed new processes and found inspiration from forgotten files.
What are you currently working on?
I am the type of person with many projects on the go at one time but primarily right now I am expanding upon one of my more successful fine art projects called Smoke. I found an archive of images I had at one time rejected but now I am combining them into new abstracts. The work is called Dancing Smoke. I am also looking for sustainable companies in this area. I want to use my photography to promote their products and services. I am just about to start with sustainable wine from the Benches region just west of Niagara. With the added benefit of enjoying the product after!
Where can we find your work?
Primarily my website. My work has been purchased by Soho Myriad, an art buyer for hotels around the world and it has been purchased by individuals in Canada and the USA. I have been recognized by the International Photography Awards and SNAP, the Art Auction fundraiser for ACT Toronto. I am currently revamping my fine art portfolio and hoping the new year will bring new exposure and new connections.