Johnny Young grew up on the mission at Santa Teresa, also known as Ltyentye Apurte, situated 85kms eat of Alice Springs. As a boy, he would watch his uncles carve soap stone, and hand stitch saddles. To entertain himself, Johnny started making toys to play with, made from batteries and nails and wire.
As a young man, Johnny worked as a Stockman, and in his spare time, he created bush toys from wire, scraps of metal, and other salvaged materials. His first adult work, was a small version of a football field with players made from horse shoe nails.
Johnny’s subjects range from cowboys and rodeo riders, and kangaroos, to pack camels and riders to motorbikes. Figurines are constructed from recycled copper wire, wound tightly together, then are dressed with salvaged material and painted.
Johnny’s work features in a number of Australian and international collections, and has been exhibited broadly across Australia. He was part of the Bush Toys exhibition in 2000, and in 2004, People Choice 21st Telstra NATSIA Award (Darwin).