Below is an excerpt from the Afar magazine article from the March/April 2019 Issue, to see the full article click here:
Joseph “P-Nut” Johnson Artist
If anyone can attest to Charleston’s dramatic changes over the years, it’s local folk artist P-Nut Johnson. Born in 1955, he got his start as a poet, scribbling rhymes on napkins at local clubs in the ’70s and ’80s and selling them for $5 apiece.
A few years ago, P-Nut switched from poetry to painting. “My fans got me into art,” he says. “They wanted me to put my poems on canvas. All of my paintings tell a story.” While some of his paintings verge on the irreverent (hangovers are a favorite motif), many portray street scenes from old Charleston: neighbors saying hello across the fence, a fisherman catching his dinner. Some of his subjects live only in his memories. “There used to be a bar called the Piccadilly Club, and another one called Three Nags, where everyone would hang out. Jimi Hendrix actually played a little tune with the boys there in the late ’60s,” he says. “I miss being able to walk down King Street and know everyone’s name.” These days, if he’s not showing prospective buyers new work at his home uptown, chances are you’ll find him at one of these tried-and-true locales.
“Normally I catch my own crabs. I hate buying them from someone else. But if I do order them, Seafood Alley is the last seafood market left downtown. The prices are good, and the crabs there are fresh off the boat. The ones they sell in winter are from the deep sea and fatter, with more meat. They cost a little more, but they’re worth it.”
Photo by Peter Frank Edwards
Cone 10 Studios sells pottery made by local ceramists and offers workshops throughout the year.
Artist and Craftsman
“I started going to this [art shop] when I started painting. It’s convenient for brushes and paint, and it’s in a 100-year-old brick church building a few blocks away from my house. The people are nice, and the prices are right.”
“I go to Hannibal’s on the Eastside if I want good soul food at a good price. My order is whatever looks good that day. I like the flounder, lightly fried, with red rice. The restaurant was called Martha’s when I was a kid, and we used to jump the fence and eat there because we didn’t want to eat the food at school!”