Clay Johnson was born and raised in Durham, NC, where he studied art and art history at Duke University, receiving a B.A. degree in 1985. He then worked for several years as assistant to painter Robert Natkin in Connecticut and New York City. He began exhibiting paintings in 1998, mostly in New York, San Francisco, and Washington DC. After several years of painting and exhibiting, followed by a hiatus of sorts, he has recently returned to painting. Clay currently lives and works in Laramie, Wyoming.