Ben Johnson was born in Llandudno, Wales, in 1946. He studied at the Royal College of Art and has lived and worked in London since 1965.
His first solo exhibition was at the Wickesham Gallery, New York, in 1969 immediately after graduating from the Royal College. He is best known for his paintings based on architectural spaces (some almost forensically accurate, others heavily manipulated) and his large-scale, intricately detailed cityscape paintings, which include panoramas of Hong Kong, Zürich, Jerusalem, Liverpool and, most recently, his view of London which was completed as part of a residency at the National Gallery, London, in 2010.
Over the past 46 years he has exhibited widely in galleries and museums across the world, including the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; the Art Institute of Chicago; Kunsthalle Tübingen; and the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. At the first Venice Architecture Biennale in 1991, Norman Foster portrayed his work solely through Johnson's images and he included him again in his installation there in 2012. His work was part of a travelling exhibition which toured museums in Europe from 2012 - 2017 with several venues achieving record visitor numbers, and the first retrospective exhibition of his paintings opened in September 2015 at the Southampton City Museum and Art Gallery. Johnson has for years been an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects for his contribution to the public’s understanding of contemporary architecture and, in 2015, was made an Honorary Fellow of Glyndwr University, Wales, for services to the public appreciation of the Arts. In 2017 he was made a Member of the Royal Cambrian Academy in Wales.
He has undertaken commissions for the Royal Institute of British Architects, the British Museum and National Museums Liverpool as well as for IBM, HSBC, JP Morgan, British Steel, Hong Kong Telecommunications and many others.
His work is included in the permanent collections of museums worldwide, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Regional Services Museum, Hong Kong; and the Government Art Collection.