Daniel Johnston only ever dreamt of two things: he wanted to be a rock star and he wanted to be a famous artist. Amazingly enough, he succeeded at both. Today he is an acclaimed indie music star whose charmingly twisted songs have been covered by the likes of Beck, Yo La Tengo, and TV on The Radio. His artwork appears in galleries throughout the world and was featured in the 2006 Whitney Biennial. Johnstonís pen and colored marker drawings contain a range of characters, some benign or heroic, and others quite disturbing. In his complex world, good battles evil attended to by an assortment of playful characters. Johnstonís world is also informed by his conservative Christian upbringing, and filled with depictions of biblical vengeance and salvation. Looking at his work, we are reminded of Heironymous Bosch as much as DC Comics. Daniel Johnston contains over 150 full color illustrations, many taken from the artistís private archives and never seen before. There is also commentary and analysis by the Walker Art Centerís Philippe Vergne, alt-rock luminary Jad Fair, and underground comic legend, Harvey Pekar. "I see him as an artist on the periphery of the art world, but not an outsider artist . . . Itís impressive when you see the consistency of the work."óPhilippe Vergne
Philippe Vergne, newly appointed director of the DIA Art Foundation, was formerly chief curator and associate director of the Walker Art Center and co-curated the 2006 Whitney Biennial, in which Johnston's work was included. Jad Fair is an alt-rock elder statesman who led the influential band, Half-Japanese. He is also a respected visual artist in his own right. Harvey Pekar is author of the influential underground comic book series, American Splendor.