The Daniel Johnston Trust

Preserving and Sharing the Daniel Johnston Legacy

Daniel's earliest years of songwriting and drawing in his West Virginia home were interrupted when he went to Texas.   The events that unfolded there, and the things that happened immediately upon his return to West Virginia, demonstrated to Daniel and also to his mother and father, that Daniel might always be handicapped in many of important life skills that one needs to safely carry himself through life safely and effectively.  This was not a conclusion that either he nor his parents were willing to accept without trying or permitting  every opportunity for Daniel to be his own man.

By the time his parents moved to Texas in 1992, following an attempt to live on his own in Austin, both Daniel and his family relented to the on-going need to Daniel to rely on others to be safe and productive.  Increasingly through the 1990s in Texas they made every effort to support Daniel's aspiration to draw, to write songs, to publish albums and to tour.

By 2007, a few years following the release of "The Devil and Daniel Johnston" documentary, his parents took the step of placing Daniel under guardianship to protect him from outsiders  and to prepare for their aging son to be cared for.

That same year his parents created The Daniel Dale Johnston TRUST as a protective entity that held Daniel's works and that would survive him.  It would support him in life but also continue promoting his many works beyond his death.

To his credit, Daniel's father, Bill Johnston, had thoroughly planned for events following his death (in 2017) and for his legacy.   This all now remains embodied in The Daniel Johnston TRUST, of which is brother, Dick, is trustee.

While Dick had already been progressing with the archival of Daniel's proliferate works, and with promotion of Daniel's legacy.  The "big" target was a biographical MOVIE or SERIES as a means for reaching a much larger audience.

Currently, the trust is undertaking many things, including:

  • re-release of all his published music
  • release of some of the best of the un-released music
  • publication of some of the best from his many hand-written notebooks
  • management of his many original drawings, sharing them in EXHIBITs, and planning a series of ART BOOKS
  • assembly of a timeline being used in the development of a MOVIE or SERIES

All the income received from Daniel's estate in the TRUST is used for these undertakings, supplemented by the MANY FRIENDS contributing in so many ways - many without compensation.   His brother Dick manages the TRUST without compensation. 

Your purchases on this site contribute to this growing effort.   Thank you for sharing with us and with Daniel in this undertaking.

-Dick Johnston