Carrie Johnson was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and grew up in the Chicago suburbs. She received a B.A. in Fine Arts from Indiana University in 1979. She was an intern in the Publications department at the Walker Art Center before embarking upon graduate studies in the Yale University MFA program. She graduated with a Design degree in 1982, the same year she received a Ford Foundation Grant and moved to New York City. She worked as an instructor at Rutgers University, teaching design and publications in Newark, New Jersey. She has worked on design projects at Degrippes Gobe, Arnell Group, as well as many freelance projects. She has designed magazines, store interiors, and exhibition graphics along with advertising and branding campaigns. Since 1982, she has also continued to produce paintings and collages. In 2001, Johnson participated in Selections Fall 2001: 12 Views at The Drawing Center in New York. She became a member of A.I.R. Gallery in 2016, and was featured in the Summer Group Exhibition at Anita Rogers Gallery in 2017. A limited-edition collage collection, Make the World Run More Smoothly, was published in December 2018 on the occasion of NADA, Miami Beach, Florida, at the A.I.R. Gallery booth. Her work is included in numerous private collections and she is based in New York City.