This post is the first in a series of three posts by guest contributor Michelle Suhar, whose personal blog can be found at www.dianeprince.com.
There’s this guy that I know named Jeremy Johnson. We used to play together as kids; our parents are friends and our dads went to Coushatta High School together. Imagine my surprise when, about 20-something years later, I saw Jeremy at an event at the Downtown Library in Shreveport, talking about graphic novels, comics, and the art group that he was part of at the time. Since then, I have watched Jeremy become an entrepreneurial artist, promoting his series of original creations called Toomasooba. Jeremy has sold his art at our local Texas Avenue Makers Fair for years, as well as other events outside of the area. However, Jeremy is a hometown boy who is proud of his roots. He kept this in mind when he became inspired to design a line of apparel and art. Jeremy just launched his own local business, Pelican Parish Supply Co., in order to make his unique creations available to anyone that is proud to call Louisiana home.
I threatened to push Jeremy off the swing set again if he wouldn’t give me an interview for 20×49 I politely asked Jeremy if he would agree to an interview for 20×49. Luckily for him, he agreed.
20×49: Pelican Parish Supply Co. is a very new local company. Why did you decide to go for it?
Jeremy Johnson: “I originally ran across an old Louisiana license plate at a friend’s workshop in 2013 and loved the bold, unique pelican design on it. I later reshaped the image and made some prints available at my 2014 Rhino Handmade Holiday TOOMASOOBA table – they sold really fast! Seeing the connection folks had with the symbol and the state through these images was definitely a light bulb moment.”
20×49: Your family has supported your creativity. What are some of the things your family and friends have done, over the years, to encourage and support your talents?
JJ: “My family has definitely been a big support over the years – they’ve always encouraged my ambitions and pushed me to keep creating. Surrounding yourself with friends and family who can offer constructive criticism and keep you grounded and focused is certainly important.”
20×49: How can people find out more about Pelican Parish Supply Co.?
The day after that interview, I visited the Spring 2015 Texas Avenue Maker’s Fair in Shreveport. Jeremy was set up there, selling his original artwork. His booth was surrounded by people every time I passed.
Jeremy Johnson is just one of many local artists, musicians, cooks, soap-makers, writers, candle-makers, hand-stitchers, and so many more types of creators that are from right here in our area. Please visit their websites! Buy their stuff! I buy it every chance I get; the money is very well spent, in my opinion. However, for us artistic types, it’s not about the money; it’s about creating something that people like, and seeing them smile.