Daniel Johnston – I Am a Baby in My Universe

Daniel Johnston: I am a Baby In My Universe

February 17, 2024 to March 16, 2024
Deborah Colton Gallery

Houston, Texas

Daniel Johnston, at a very young age, decided that he wanted to be a comic book artist like Jack Kirby, whose work he admired. He drew constantly, which often caused his teachers to reprimand him for not paying attention. By the time he reached Junior High, his drawing skills were quite advanced… but during those years mental illness appeared in the form of depression. 

While he still dreamed of becoming a cartoonist for Marvel Comics, his drawing time became something more. It was a form of self-therapy to help him cope with his depression. It was an escape. In his early twenties his mental illness blossomed into schizophrenia. In spite of this, he continued his daily drawing, producing pieces that give the viewer a glimpse into his journey with mental illness.  He created an entire universe of his own, complete with a cast of characters caught up in the eternal battle of good and evil.  Some characters were original creations.  Others were borrowed from pop culture. 

This art exhibit, “I am a Baby in my Universe” is an introduction to the major characters (and some of the minor ones) that inhabit his imagined world. It will display nearly 200 works of art in groupings that will introduce 45 characters showing examples of art pieces in which they are featured. Daniel’s drawings have an undeniable appeal, saturated in a childlike wisdom that has won him fans and followers around the world. The show will also feature a screening room playing the documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston (2005) as well as a display about the effects of mental illness in Dan’s art.