Howard David Johnson was born in Mötsch, in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany near the now closed Bitburg Air Force Base on September 2, 1954.
The son of an American Career Air Force officer and College Professor, he grew up traveling and living on military bases around the world, inspired and influenced by the art, architecture and culture in the Mediterranean & Central Europe. Drawing and painting every available moment of his childhood while experiencing the old world, he worked with any and all art mediums he could get his hands on. He devoted his life to art at the age of six in spite of stubborn opposition from his father, who insisted that earning a living as an artist was absolutely impossible. This dynamic conflict shaped his life and forged his driving motivation. His mother worried that practicing with such passion and driving motivation (4 – 12 hours most days) was sure to hurt him in the long run. His father feared he would end up like both of their namesake, David’s great uncle Howard who fought in nearly every island combat against the Japanese in the Pacific War.
Howard came home a war hero and his heart’s desire was to be an illustrator and when he found a tough job market instead, took his own life. David’s father never told him the real reason for his violent opposition to an art career until later in life, and upon hearing this, David began using his full name, Howard David Johnson.