Meet the Maker: Chrissy Johnson of 213 Water

February 02, 2018


I found Chrissy's work through the wonderful web of Instagram, constantly loving each piece she shared. It wasn't long after following her that I knew that her style would be a hit with Lake Effect Co shoppers, and the Great Lakes print was commissioned. Chrissy tells us more about herself and her creative process, which stems from a lifetime love of the lake, below. 

Introduce yourself!

The roles of wife and mom are foremost in my life.  I  am currently enjoying the non-paid, full-time position of being a stay at home mom to my son, Boadin, and daughter, Virginia. Commonly known as Boadie and Ginger.  One of my life's goals is to own a classic Chris Craft boat similar to the '67 Super Sport my grandpa owned, (the interior was amazing and a turquoise color that I dream about) I would name it Boadie, (pronounced Boaty) after my son who was born with Down syndrome and whose absolute favorite thing to do in the whole world is to be on the boat.  

What's your favorite lake and lake activity?

Lake Minnetonka was my childhood.  I spent more time swimming off the dock than I ever did playing in the backyard.  Boating was how my family spent time together and still does.  Our best memories as a family are centered around water.  We've shared some of our best meals, best days and greatest celebrations on the lake. 

How did you start 213 water?

213 water was and continues to be a dare to myself.  Is it good enough?  Will anybody like it?  If we're honest, we all wonder these things about ourselves.  But doing what brings you joy allows you to live in a wholehearted way, regardless of the answers to those questions.  Because maybe it's good enough and no, not everybody will like it!  Art makes me happy and I found that when I share that, it makes other people happy too. A lot of what I create is inspired by the gear, cars, boats and memories of the lake lifestyle I experienced growing up. (Yay, '80s!)  Illustration is an outlet while my kids are asleep.  I find that if I can express myself through creating and illustrating, I'm a better mom in the morning.  

Tell us about your creative process.

I am so inspired by color.  Specifically bright touches against sparse or somewhat blank canvas. I love white.  It's my favorite (non) color.  I don't have an eye for detail.  If something looks right to my eye, if it's pleasing to look at, it's finished. Nothing I do is very polished or refined.  The best compliment I've ever received and describes the point of view that I strive for is, "you make casual brilliant."  I think that's beautiful.  

Tell us about your inspiration for the Great Lakes print!

For the Great Lakes Illustration, I simply choose landmarks that were colorful, classic and accurately representative of the area.  There were so many great landmarks to choose from, I just wanted the map to look balanced content and colorwise!  

chrissy johnson 213water great lakes water color print


Where can people find/support/buy from you?

I thrive on custom projects.  I take all kinds of orders, through my Etsy shop, through local small businesses in Excelsior, Wayzata and Minneapolis, and anyone that is inspired while scrolling my Instagram feed.  DM me, convo me, email works too. 

Shop Chrissy's Great Lakes Print here!


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Chrissy Johnson

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3 Responses

Beth Bitney
Beth Bitney

July 28, 2020

I have one of your Lake Minnetonka watercolors where we now live. Used to live on Lotus Lake – do you have that lake available as would love to pair them!

Cynthia Fletcher
Cynthia Fletcher

July 23, 2020

Chrissy, I just ordered 2 prints and am wondering why you don’t sign your artwork?

Paul Kapsner
Paul Kapsner

July 21, 2020

Hi Chrissy, I saw your post about 213 Water and specifically Boadie and his love for water providing inspiration for your work. I am on the board of directors at GiGi’s playhouse Twin Cities. I would love to connect to let you know what GiGi’s playhouse is doing for individuals and families with Down syndrome. I live in the excelsior area and was thinking we could connect and discuss how your art can be of impact to GiGis for our next gala and beyond. BRs Paul

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