Chris Johanson's work has evolved from black-Sharpie-marker comic drawings on the street and in bars in the San Francisco Mission District to abstract, sincere, exuberant, rainbow-colored paintings, sculptures, and installations. His interactive environments—sometimes constructed as mazes—are meant to be physically experienced, which intensifies the psychological impact of his work. Zooming from micro to macro at a moment's notice, Johanson's structures encompass themes ranging from suburban listlessness to ecological disasters and the spiritual health of society.
Johanson's work was included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial. The following year he was a SECA Award winner at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA. Many museums and galleries have held solo exhibitions of his work, such as the UCLA Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and Deitch Projects and Mitchell-Innes & Nash Gallery in New York.