Page 89 - The Montecito Journal Glossy Edition Summer Fall 2010

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they did many notable commercial projects as Nest Design,
including a children’s hospital in Holland, the restoration of a
vintage mural at Coral Casino in Montecito, and a low-income
women and children’s facility in Santa Barbara. They relocated back
to his native Santa Barbara in 2004.
The idea to paint boots arose last year when she was asked
to donate an auction item for a Sarah House (hospice) fundraiser.
She decided to translate her muralist approach to boots – painting
an intricate homage to the Beatles, which were purchased by Nora
Hurley, to support the end-of-life-care fundraiser. In the time since,
she has created fantastical dragons and mythical horses as well
as sexy, Rolling Stones-inspired fish nets with sparkled Swarovski
crystal tongues (pictured here). Thus, Violet Flame Boots was born.
Johnson can customize any pair of boots, but it comes at a
price. Her fees begin at $1,500 and boots take at least three weeks to
finish. Working with a magnifying glass, Johnson says she loves her
designs millimeter by millimeter. First she sketches her concept, then
she treats the leather, applies special high-pigment ink and finally
seals it. She guarantees her work for life against cracking or any color
shift, so customers know their investment will retain its value.
Johnson plans to expand this year and partner with Outpost
Trading Company as the exclusive location in the Santa Ynez
Valley to carry her western themed boots. She is reachable at www. or (805) 284-3419.
Although she has done some children’s boots in quantity, Johnson
does not see this venture ever morphing into mass production. Rather,
she gets to know her clients and translates their personality and style
into one-of-a-kind wearable art pieces. She warns however, that, “If you
don’t like attention, then my boots are not for you!” Johnson, who only
wears boots and eschews any other foot covering, owns some 25 to 30
pairs. Constantly selling off her creations, she is forever searching for
either fantastic vintage or new boots to transform.
A Born Storyteller
Johnson grew up storytelling. Trained as an interior designer and
graphic artist, she has always communicated her vision through story.
Raised in Dallas, Johnson moved to Holland, where she lived for 11
years, during which she met her partner in work and in love – Emiliano
Campobello – and began to learn the trade of painting murals. Together