Ervin A. Johnson graduated from the University of Illinois- Urbana Champaign with a bachelor’s in Rhetoric and began work on his second bachelor’s at Columbia College Chicago in photography in 2012. He completed his MFA in photography at Savannah College of Art and Design and returned to Chicago. Ervin utilizes photo-based mixed media to reimagine his cultural and racial identity via photography and video. In his most recent body of work, #InHonor, Ervin pays homage to the lives lost to police brutality and racism.


In 2016 he was awarded the Critical Mass Solo Exhibition Award and completed an alumni summer residency with Columbia College followed by the 2016 Diane Dammayer Fellowship, a photographic residency which partners Heartland Alliance and Columbia College’s photography department. The Diane Dammeyer Fellowship in Photographic Arts and Social Issues creates a space for a socially engaged photographer to produce a compelling and dynamic body of work highlighting human rights and social issues. Ervin has exhibited all across the United States, most notably with Blue Sky Gallery in Portland and Arnika Dawkins Gallery in Atlanta and also Detroit’s Wright Museum. He was chosen as of one of the 2017 Critical Mass finalists. Most recently Ervin was selected for the 2019 fifth edition of the Venice biennial art exhibition “PERSONAL STRUCTURES – Identities”. The exhibition will present a wide selection of works from emerging and internationally-renowned artists, photographers, sculptors and projects of academic institutions from all over the world, illustrating the different subjective reflections on the topics of “Time, Space and Existence” and on the concept of Identity. Ervin recently completed an artist residency with The Center for Photography at Woodstock in the Fall of 2019.