Jasper Johns

President Barack Obama places a 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom around the neck of American artist Jasper Johns, Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington. Carolyn Kaster/ap

Jasper Johns was born May 15, 1930, in Augusta, Ga., and grew up in Allendale, Columbia and Sumter, S.C. He started to make pictures as a young child and quickly developed a passion for art.

He attended the University of South Carolina for three semesters, then moved to New York City at the urging of his teachers. After two years in the Army during the Korean War, he settled in New York, befriended fellow artists and became one of the most important and influential painters and printmakers of the 20th and 21st centuries.