June 14, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Remembering EZTV Founder Kate Johnson Who Saved LGBTQ+ Media Work

Kate Johnson was an artist and founder of EZTV. Johnson saved and stewarded an important archive of new media work by LGBTQ+ LA artists who were decimated by the AIDS epidemic.

Work from the LGBTQ community in the 80’s and 90’s which would have been lost due to the fact that it was on short-lived material such as videotape, Super8 etc. The material saved is now being held by the ONE Archives at USC. 

Johnson was an Emmy-award winning documentary filmmaker and was at the cutting edge of large-scale video projection. She was part of an overlapping arts and tech community and her unique contribution was the programming and code around projection mapping. She projection-mapped the facade of the Getty for the first PST opening in 2011, LA’s City Hall, and the enormous facade across from Bergamot Station in 2015.

An online memorial celebrating Johnson’s 27 year long career and life one year after her death was held this past weekend called The Hyphenate Art and Life of Kate Johnson produced and conceived by Futurizing Art and presented by 18th Street Arts Center. 

18th Street Arts Center is one of the top 20 artist residency programs in the US, and the largest in Southern California. Conceived as a radical think tank in the shape of an artist community, 18th Street supports artists from around the globe to imagine, research, and develop significant, meaningful new artworks and share them with the public.

Artists, hackers and futurists all gathered to celebrate the life of Johnson and reflect on her work and achievements throughout her 50 years. 

Johnson was a proud creative citizen of Santa Monica, and equally proud citizen of the Otis College community. But first and foremost, she was the heart of EZTV, saving it from certain demise and nurturing it not only back into health, but on to a world stage and critical acclaim and artistic realization never achieved by its founders.

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