Article: Johny Dar 1986-2023: The Timeline
Johny Dar 1986-2023: The Timeline
JD is found by his father, pen in hand, with his drawings etched all over his cupboard and other furniture. His father removes all his art materials. JD continues to source pens secretly, and keeps drawing under his bed.
JD moves to Los Angeles to study film making on a football scholarship. His parents refuse to support his creative career choice so he gets a job stacking supermarket shelves to pay his school fees.
JD crashes his motorbike sustaining injuries that prevent him from playing football, so he loses his scholarship. Depression takes hold and his only respite is painting.
Encouraged by his parents, JD starts seeing a therapist. In one of the sessions the therapist sees him drawing and suggests a career as a fashion designer.
JD enrols for a course in Apparel Manufacturing Management at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles.
JD launches Johnny Wonder - his first fashion label.
Still a student, JD is nominated for ‘Top Designer on the West Coast’, dresses P!nk, Eva Longoria, Shakira and Brooke Burke, and has his collection stocked in top retailers including Fred Segal, Henri Bendel, and Barney’s.
JD organises a fashion show called ‘F**k War’ in an LA parking lot. Editors write to him asking him to change the name so they can attend. He refuses.
JD publishes an advertisement for Johnny Wonder in Women’s Wear Daily with an image of all the major fashion label logos burning. The Johnny Wonder collection is shown alongside Calvin Klein and Donna Karan on the runway in LA, and JD is invited to head up one of the design departments at BCBG MaxAzria.
JD rejects the job with BCBG MaxAzria, disillusioned with the competitive nature of the fashion industry and the superficiality of the scene. Against the advice of friends and colleagues, he leaves LA to go to an electronic music gathering in the mountains of Canada.
2003 / 2004
JD travels extensively, and develops a methodology for hand-drawn art with groundbreaking aesthetic, geometric and mathematical properties. He begins speaking a language he has never heard before, which he later comes to understand as the language of the human body. After spinning around the world three times, JD realises that everything he is looking for is within him. So he stops travelling like a maniac.
JD returns to the fashion industry and works as a production manager and designer for several design houses.
JD hits the road again, isolating himself in remote areas to complete the first DAR the BOOK sketches.
JD returns to Europe and launches WAY - a sustainable sportswear brand featuring his original artwork silkscreened on t-shirts. German hip-hop artist Thomas D wears a WAY t-shirt for the Converse summer campaign.
JD launches DAR LIN - a luxury, print-driven fashion collection.
DAR LIN is stocked in Bloomingdales, Nordstroms, Anthropologie, Fred Segal, and 300 specialty stores within the US. JD begins grooming the brand’s lead graphic designer to be the front man so he can remain behind the scenes.
The first volume of DAR the BOOK is published. A trademark infringement with a UK company results in a mandate to pull all DAR LIN stock from the market.
JD founds Johny Dar, with himself as the face of the brand. Venturing into body art for the first time, he collaborates with Rankin on the Tuuli by Dar calendar, which is reviewed by Franca Sozzani and celebrated worldwide.
JD collaborates with Lady Gaga for her GUY music video. He body paints 17 models in a day for his runway show at Berlin Fashion Week, which receives a standing ovation. Images of hairy painted models go viral. Inspired to make horses the new subject of his body art, JD paints an Arabian stallion in Dubai for the first Horse Whispers series.
2015 - JD opens his own gallery in Berlin. The first Horse Whispers series and other JD artworks are exhibited at the MOCA in Beijing. JD launches the Love Your Body campaign, applying body art as a methodology to empower women to celebrate their bodies and individuality. German TV stations feature naked painted women storming the streets of Berlin.
JD launches Jeans For Refugees. He hand-paints 100 pairs of celebrity-donated jeans which are exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery and showcased at Berlin, Milan and New York fashion weeks. Sir Elton John donates a jacket and Woody Allen a hat.
JD begins working in music - fusing his original language with electronic production, and founding the Dardelica project. He introduces Dar-Time as a new format for time with 32 hours in a day, designed to reduce stress and increase productivity.
JD releases the IQ-ME colouring book series, designed to remedy the neurological impact of scrolling on social media and excessive screen time. He releases 4 solo singles and continues to add to his extensive art library. The first Dardelica show takes place in London alongside the first DAR the BOOK exhibition.
JD begins writing novels, screenplays and books about self improvement and empowerment. The Dardelica show tours the UK and Europe. Exhibitions of fine art take place in London, Milan, Berlin and Amsterdam. JD debuts his ready-to-wear and couture collections at London Fashion Week.
JD completes Liquid Gold - a sound journey featuring his original language within a meditative soundscape, as an aural supplement to support relaxation, meditation, healing, and restorative sleeping. Between lockdowns, JD body paints 12 horses and a human for Horse Whispers2.. Liquid Gold sound healing events are launched in London as sonic sanctuaries offering audiences holistic respite in a Covid climate.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down, JD was in advanced negotiations to sell 50% of his shares in JD. However, the deal fell through due to the extraordinary uncertainty brought about by the global crisis. Nobody knew what the world would look like post-COVID. Undeterred, JD shifted his focus and began working on AOI, a state-of-the-art light and sound technology initially intended for his private island.
As the pandemic reshaped our reality, JD adapted and chose to launch AOI in the vibrant setting of Ibiza. A series of studies were conducted to explore its effects, marking a significant turning point in JD's business endeavors. From that juncture, JD also devoted more time to the healing aspects of his artwork, demonstrating his resilience and adaptability in the face of unprecedented change.
In 2023, JD took AOI global, with new locations in Dubai, Berlin, Austria, Costa Rica, and Ibiza. AOI's fame soared, highlighted by a showstopping launch at Germany's Greator Festival. There, legendary Wim Hof himself led an AOI session, causing a sensation with people lining up for 4 hours to experience the magic of AOI.