Born in Glasgow in 1956 Steve Johnston grew up in Dumfries and studied at art school. Upon leaving, Steve Johnston became an apprentice electrician for a brief period, as he was uncertain of where his artistic path led. In 1973, he undertook a course at Carlisle College , where, during the second year, he opted for a change in medium, preferring photography to painting. Steve Johnston found black & white formats extremely inspiring and exciting to work with, seeing himself as an artist utilising a camera rather than paint.

Steve Johnston moved to London after college where he contributrf freelance work for teen magazines, which led to him working for Vogue in 1977. Steve's work was included in the 'Pink Punk Book' published in 1978. In 1991, Steve Johnston began painting again stating 'it was then that something clicked and I have not looked back since...painting is my life'.

Steve Johnston states that he is not concerned with how someone is standing or what they are doing but instead with portraying an essence or emotion.