University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Redesigning Lives Globally
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J. Seward Johnson Jr.


Honorary Adjunct Professor and Artist in Residence

In accord with occupational science, the sculptures of J. Seward Johnson highlight those moments when the human spirit triumphs through engagement in ordinary activity. His work suggests that what makes human life most fulfilling and enjoyable are the simple pleasures. Many of his sculptures depict the ways in which human touch and intimacy are expressed within the context of occupations, defined as the typical activities a person does in the stream of time. Through exposure to the sculptures, students gain a deeper appreciation of how people achieve fulfillment within the context of ordinary activities that are often taken for granted.


After a lifetime as a painter, in 1968, J. Seward Johnson Jr. turned his talents to the medium of sculpture. Since then, more than 200 of Johnson’s life-size cast bronze figures have been featured in private collections in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia, as well as prominent public spaces such as Rockefeller Center in New York City and Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver, Canada. Johnson’s most dramatic work — and also his largest — is the 70-foot aluminum giant entitled “The Awakening.” This sculpture was selected for the International Sculpture Conference Exhibition and is on long-term loan in Washington, D.C. Photographs and articles about Johnson’s works have appeared in Time, Art News, Art in America, U.S. News & World Report, Travel and Leisure, Smithsonian, Life and People, as well as the Boston Globe, Washington Post and New York Times.