Derrick lives in Nova Scotia, and is a proud Canadian with aboriginal, colonial and European roots. He graduated from The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design University with a BFA in Fine Arts and from Ryerson University (Toronto) with a BAA in Photographic Arts (motion picture option).

Derrick began painting professionally in 2006. His first professional solo exhibition was held at Saint Francis Xavier University Art Gallery in 2010. In 2011 and 2012 he received grants from Arts Nova Scotia.


I am an artist with an idealist’s heart and mind, trying to marry my paintings with core values and beliefs. For me, art is a paradox, complex yet simple and bound only by our choices: how we create it, present it and perceive it. Art has the benefit of historical context: defining our past, establishing our present and predicating our future. It is a malleable tool and catalyst in society’s development, enabling us through exploration and introspection. We can use art to facilitate positive change.

Social and political themes fascinate me because they contain the elemental substance and glue which shapes and holds our human condition, social fabric and nation together. I believe that an artist should have a perspective or opinion to present to the public on public issues. If I can communicate with the audience to engage them in a discourse that will inspire positive involvement in the political process (to be informed and aware of Canadian issues, to question our political leaders and to go out and vote), then I have accomplished something special and worthwhile. I am committed to achieving these principles and experiences when creating my artwork. I love being an artist and take pride in my profession.


Derrick Dale Johnson would like to gratefully recognize the support of Arts Nova Scotia and their assistance in helping make the ‘Figures in a Landfill’ triptych’s creation and presentation possible with creation and presentation grants.