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Chet Johnson Found His Way Back to Art

Chet Johnson, a new member of the Anderson Artists Guild, always wanted to paint like his mom, a watercolor and acrylic artist and high school art teacher. But other interests led him in different directions.

With degrees in pre-engineering and business from Anderson University, he embarked on what has so far been a 37-year career with Duke Energy. He started as an engineer, designing commercial projects in Anderson including the Harpers Ridge subdivision, the North Hills shopping center (where Tucker’s is located), and several plants on the 28 Bypass such as Plastic Omnium.

Then he moved into supply chain management, where his responsibilities included managing buying and warehousing operations for materials that linemen construction crews use.

Five years ago, he became a technology consultant focused on helping the company grow its use of technology. “I’ve enjoyed my career at Duke,” he said. “I never felt like I needed to leave because I always had new opportunities.”

Last year, Chet found his way back to art, and this time something clicked. “I focused on wanting to paint and practice,” he said. He paints mostly watercolors, mostly photorealistic landscapes based on his own photos or images he sees online. “It’s become a dangerous hobby. I’ll be driving and looking around. I’m all the time looking for ideas.”

Friends who saw his work encouraged him to share it, and based on that prompting, he set up Instagram and Facebook sites and recently an Etsy shop. “I got a lot of response and have sold a good bit,” he said.

He works small—a lot of 5 by 7’s—though he’s been experimenting with larger sizes, and about half of what he sells are giclée prints shipped directly to customers by a company in Pennsylvania. For the prints, he photographs his artwork by using the voice command for his phone, which fits into a tripod adapter.

He paints during the evenings and weekends but is considering retirement in a few years.


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