Portrait of an Artist: Ulli Johnston
“The Boot Whisperer”
From a very young age, German born and raised Ulli Johnston, was fascinated with American Western movies and whenever given the chance to dress up she inevitably chose to be either a cowboy or an Indian. So when she first drove through Wimberley, Texas, she experienced a strong sense of déjà vu. “It was like I had been here before, and I just knew I was going to live here,” said Ulli.
It isn’t a surprise that she ended up in Texas, but she insists she didn’t plan the life she is living; instead she let life lead her. Now, 22 years later, she still lives in Wimberely and has found her calling as a “Boot Whisperer“, selling vintage cowboy boots and western relics in her Wild West Store, located in the center of town.
Ulli’s customers began calling her the “Boot Whisperer” because of her uncanny ability to find just the right pair of cowboy boots without even checking a customer’s size. Ulli says that boot whispering is the practice of trusting your gut, and there’s probably no better symbol than the American cowboy boot to represent that kind of self-reliance.
This iconic American symbol, which Ulli wears almost every day, is a part of the culture of the American West that fascinated the young German girl, led her to move to Texas, and is now such a part of her everyday life.
It’s impossible to know how much influence (or say in the matter) the boots have over Ulli, since she lets her intuition guide both her life and her work, but either way when it comes to boot whispering, Ulli Johnston has discovered her own art.