Marjory Johnston was born in East Liverpool, Ohio in June of 1950. She was the second of five children born to Mabel and Bill Johnston. She lived in West Virginia, California, and Utah during her childhood as the family moved with Bill’s work.
She graduated from Oak Glen High School in New Cumberland, W. Va. in 1968 and headed for Abilene Christian University in Texas, graduating in 1973 with bachelor degrees in music and elementary education. During a 35 year teaching career, she taught elementary music, junior high and high school band, choir, and jazz ensemble, fourth grade math and science, and elementary art.
She spent the summer of 1992 in the hospital for clinical depression brought on by the conflict between her religious upbringing and her homosexuality. After accepting herself she began a close relationship with Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church in Houston, Texas where she met her life partner, Terry Talley. They still attend RMCC where they are both active in various ministries. They do humorous skits as Mabel and LaVerne (their mother’s names). Marjory sings in a quartet called “Forever Blest” that does southern gospel music.
Marjory’s interest in art started when she was teaching elementary math and science. She so enjoyed the artwork of her students that she studied and trained and became certified to teach art. She then taught art until she retired in 2007 to care for her elderly parents and her brother Daniel.
Her family calls her Margy, many friends call her Mojo, but she signs her artwork either “Mabel” or “Sparky”. Mojo means spiritual spark in an African dialect.
Marjory began creating her own art in 2004 after attending the “Outsider Art Fair” in New York. She creates in gouache, acrylic, and oil pastels, but her passion is found object assemblage.
Creating art, for me, is a type of therapy. It helps me untangle my emotions, memories, ideas, experiences, and beliefs. My drawings and assemblages deal with social, emotional, and spiritual topics and the confusion that goes along with being alive. I am particularly interested in the need to worship or idolize, the need for acceptance, variations in sexual identity, human cruelty and compassion, attitudes of superiority or inferiority, mental struggles and inner conflicts, and various levels of awareness including dream states. Sometimes I have an idea for a piece of art for years before I actually begin working on it. During that time it evolves until it finally arrives at a cohesive state where I can begin it’s creation. Influences include the art of children, my brother Daniel’s art, Pablo Picasso, A. R. Penck, Jean Dubuffet, Joaquin Torres-Garcia, Joan Miro, and Paul Klee.