“They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.” ― Tom Bodett
Coming from the harsh realities of life in West Philadelphia, Raheem Saladeen Johnson otherwise known as King Saladeen, took it upon himself to grasp at true happiness within his life and those around him even when things may have looked bleak. The idea that there are three things necessary for a person to be happy in this world is a concept that this young visual artist can readily accept as his someone to love, something to do and something to hope for have all revolved around his obsession for the arts since an early age. Since the age of 5 Saladeen’s passion for the arts has been a consistent part of his life, with the young budding artist drawing on whatever he could get his hands on from paper to walls. Having been raised in a tough urban environment where artistic outlets were few and far between, Saladeen instead turned his attention to basketball where he shined and became a force to be reckoned with while a high school athlete. His efforts brought him to numerous places across the country where is his eyes were opened to the landscapes, shapes and colors that were vastly different than what the kid from Philly saw in his typical day to day. These opportunities allowed him to daydream on a greater scale and be influenced and inspired in a way that has stuck with him to this very day.
Unfortunately, an automobile accident sidelined Saladeen, and though it was a life altering event, it had the positive benefit of causing him to redirect his attention back to his first love – the arts. After exploring a NCAA scholarship opportunity or two years, Saladeen realized that he could not ignore his penchant for the arts any longer and he returned to Philly where he worked as a design artist for a clothing company which later grew into a national success. Eventually the company was sold and Saladeen began working at a Philadelphia area youth center where he utilized his artistic skills to benefit the center residents as he sketched and painted pieces that reflected their life circumstances.
As many artists can attest, it was the input of an outside source that put Saladeen on the path to be a fulltime artist. That person was his friend John JP Thompson, who purchased him his first professional art supplies set and motivated him to pursue his passions as a lifelong career. Taking his advice to heart in 2011 Saladeen launched the Saladeen Art Group where he then started his journey into the art world. The venture was a bonafide success and provided validation that the pursuit of an artistic based career was the right path for Saladeen. Sadly, his greatest inspiration, JP – the man who motivated him to push forward and achieve that which he deserved, passed away after a battle with brain cancer. His death had a major impact on Saladeen’s life and is reflective to this day within the art that he creates.
And thus it began; after his first solo show in Hollywood, CA and Miami, FL in 2014, Saladeen began presenting his art work in cities all over the country in some of the hippest and cutting edge venues available. With a huge buzz that resonated throughout the art community, King Saladeen was born and since then he has been a part of various major art based activations including being a featured Revolt TV artist with Footlocker during Art Basel (2015), a Warhol collaboration with Karen Bystedt (2016), the Alec Monopoly mural collaboration (2016), a solo show at Eden Fine Art Soho Gallery (2017) and a host of luxury automotive commissions such as the Lamborghini Aventador, Bugatti Veryon Pur Blanc and the Rolls Royce Ghost EWB for the Goldrush Rally. With such accomplishments under his belt, Saladeen continues to meld the art world with cars, fashion and music with every opportunity that he has. And most recently in 2017 he created and curated the Neiman Marcus holiday windows.
The sky is the limit for the kid from Philly that just wanted to make the world happy with every pen and brush stroke that passed through his hand. As his brand continues to grow, so does his personal expectations to be the best version of himself in everything that he sets his mind to. What is left to achieve for this artist that has never allowed boundaries to define the scope of his work or his dreams?
Only time will tell.