Michael Jurogue Johnson is a gifted contemporary artist who was born with Down Syndrome. Michael paints watercolors, acrylics and oil paintings. He shares an art studio and he paints almost every day. After dinner Michael can often be found working at his mail order business: filling orders, writing letters, and packing his notecards, paintings, and catalogs to be shipped to his customers the next day.
As a child, Michael enjoyed drawing pictures with markers and coloring with crayons. He played with scraps of colored glass on a light table in a stained glass studio. He has always been fascinated with color. At Park School in Evanston, Illinois, a public school for children with special needs, Michael enjoyed art classes and was able to take part in painting a community mural and to display his school art projects at an outdoor art fair and an art exhibit in a local bank.
Michael was supposed to go into a sheltered workshop. The day after his graduation from Park School ( at the age of 21 ), Michael was given a scrap of watercolor paper and some paints just to keep him busy. Michael painted all day long and had to be coaxed to stop and eat lunch. Michael’s first watercolor was awesome!! When asked in utter amazement, “Michael, this is really good. Would you like to be an artist?” Michael replied, “I AM AN ARTIST.” Michael exceeded everyone’s expectations when he was given the opportunity to paint independently, at his own pace, in his own studio space. He learned how to paint by painting every day.