King Johnson Carry The Fire Web

We Carry the Fire: Kevin King and Frances Johnson


Artist Statement:

The “We” pertains to the builders of culture, the artists, the musicians, writers, actors, painters, and poets of our time.

[The verse is taken from the Cormac McCarthy novel “The Road." In the story a father and son are walking through a post apocalyptic land trying to reach the coast and supposedly some form of civilization while eluding the dredges of mankind who have taken to hunting and eating whatever and whoever they capture. The father instills in his son that they “carry the fire." It never explains what he means by this but you know by the father’s sense of character that they are carrying all that is good and what can be saved of the advancement of human endeavor.]

What I see as the fire is the passion and dedication that artists commit to their work and their lives.

As a culture we are a work in progress, ever evolving and redefining the human potential.


Born in Pittsfield Mass., Kevin King was educated there in the parochial and public school system. His lifelong passion for painting began at an early age and became more focused at the age of eighteen after his beloved mother gifted him with an oil paint set, a Christmas gift his parents of eight children could barely afford. Since then he has continued to paint. He has worked as a licensed foreign car mechanic, a master research technician in oceanography, a graphic artist, has written the novel, Bird of Passage a fictional memoir of his first expedition at sea to track pelagic sharks, created and produced an award winning documentary Troubled Water concerning contaminated drinking water on Cape Cod, and has traveled the world spending over a year at sea on research vessels. He lives and paints in Falmouth.

Kevin and Frances have lived and created art together for 39 years.

“When we are without art, we are a diminished people – myopic, unlearned and cruel.”

Dave Eggers, N.Y.Times
King Johnson Images


Artist Statement:

"I’ve lived by the ocean most of my life. Years ago a scientist form the U.S. Geological Survey gave me some photographs of Diatoms, Radiolarians and Microzooplankton. I was captivated by the beauty and elegance of these microscopic forms. Over the years I have been studying these organisms for their shapes, structure, their marine origins in deep ocean sediment and have incorporated these forms in my ceramic concepts. These organisms with their curvaceous and undulating structures have been a source of inspiration that has endured with my appreciation of the ocean life.

As I delve further into the origins, structures, and life of these marine organisms, it has drawn me into this world and expanded my appreciation for its diversity of form and function.

Although I make vessels, function is not what intrigues me. My work reflects the unique human imprint of a creative idea with an ongoing connection to the natural world. Each piece holds a bit of memory, spirit and inspiration of the maker."


"I grew up in an artistic home, making and looking at art was something we were all expected to do. Drawing on the walls at our house was encouraged. My mother took classes with Harry Holl at his Scargo Pottery studio in the mid sixties. She then set up a small clay studio in our home on Cape Cod. This was the beginning of my passion for ceramics.

I went to a high school where art was considers to be as important as math or science. Fortunately for me it included an amazing clay teacher and I was able to expand my ceramic vocabulary.

I moved to Boston in 1974 and began my teaching career at a preschool in Cambridge Mass. During this time I bought a floor loom and began weaving, scarves, pillows, rugs and wall hangings. I quickly realized that fiber art was something I enjoyed but was not my passion. I started taking ceramics classes at the Museum of Fine Arts School where my step dad was a teacher which meant that I could take as many classes and spend as much time in the studio as I wanted.

Moving back to Cape Cod in 1979 where I met my husband who inspired me to continue making art. We eventually moved to Boston where I went back to the Museum school and then on to Mass. College of Art where I studied ceramics and art education receiving a BFA in Education.

In 1991, I started teaching Ceramics at Barnstable High experiencing my students development and passion for clay. Teaching students with special needs has been a joy and a privilege.

Eventually I found my way to South Dartmouth and a tribe of ceramic artists where I have been wood firing my work in an Anagama wood kiln for the past 15 years.

On June 20th I retired from teaching and I’m excited to spend my time as a full time studio artist." - Frances Johnson