Aleim Johnson is an independent producer, curator and publisher based in Los Angeles and New York. Johnson began his career in the entertainment industry at the production company Jersey Films, but his interest in LA’s cultural landscape soon led to the founding of knowtribe, an arts organization dedicated to supporting artists by finding venues to feature their work. His dedication to the arts soon caught the attention of the Sundance Institute, for which he eventually became an Associate of Sundance’s Feature Film Program. Johnson then joined The Group At Strasberg, a new production company created by the Lee Strasberg Creative Center that has produced critically acclaimed and prize-winning theater productions. Most recently, Johnson launched Aleim.com, a new online magazine featuring interviews with the greatest artistic innovators of our time—think of it as a hipper version of the New Yorker or Interview.
What’s hot right now?
The internet. It fosters individualism and creativity. If you have an idea for something, it can spread fast. The world is super connected and the speed of information is mind-blowing. Social networking is a catalyst for change. Anything is possible. Monopolies are in jeopardy, dictatorships will fall. The nature of media in general is being questioned. We tell our own stories, we create our own narratives.
Who are the most influential tastemakers?
Whether you’re talking history, film, literature, fashion or music, the most influential tastemakers are usually people steeped in the classics. For me personally—just to throw out a few names—the documentarian Jan Sharp is a tastemaker, as well as Robin Geng in fashion, Thomas Mastorakos in design and Dana Lixenberg in photography. They all have an innate, natural approach to their craft, and an awareness of historical context. Knowing history influences everything from the way you dress, play music or make films to the way you think. What is old becomes new again. Tastemakers are always bold. I was at a Hollywood party once and there was one young lady who stood out and caught the eye of everyone there because she looked strikingly elegant in a black-feathered dress. When I asked her why she chose it, she told me she was inspired by Proust’s Swann’s Way. I immediately fell in love.
What’s your most treasured travel must-have item?
I have a few. My travel bag always tends to be larger than I want. My most treasured items are a couple of good books, of course, and my high-top converse sneakers—either black or white, depending on the season. I always travel with a blazer, even if I am on some remote island, because you never know what great invitation you will receive and you have to look presentable.