Featured Artist John Carlson

Artist John Carlson’s mixed media paintings depict humans in a simple, pure form with an amazing depth of emotion and expression. Visit his website to see more of his work.

 

"Cinderella Sleeping It Off" Oil and Charcoal on Canvas, 50" x 50" by artist John Carlson. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Cinderella Sleeping It Off” Oil and Charcoal on Canvas, 50″ x 50″

 

My work is every emotion and the absence of emotion—images of vulnerability, endurance, desperation and sorrow, relief and joy. It is what you are when you see it. It’s human, it’s alive.

 

"And Then Youth" Oil and Charcoal on Canvas, 40" x 30" by artist John Carlson. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“And Then Youth” Oil and Charcoal on Canvas, 40″ x 30″

 

I began drawing as a young child and was always encouraged by my parents to pursue my passion for art. At the age of thirteen, I discovered Van Gogh and was mesmerized by the deep emotional impact of his work. So I began to paint.

 

"Child's Eye" Oil and Charcoal on Canvas, 24" x 36" by artist John Carlson. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Child’s Eye” Oil and Charcoal on Canvas, 24″ x 36″

 

My mother would take me to McDonald’s to “people watch” as she called it. I would see little dramas, movements and gestures. These resonated with me and became the well from which I began to pull my imagery. I was drawing and painting constantly. People I knew, people I didn’t, in airports, restaurants and my studio—everywhere.

 

"Dark Was the Night" Oil and Charcoal on Canvas, 48" x 36" by artist John Carlson. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Dark Was the Night” Oil and Charcoal on Canvas, 48″ x 36″

 

Although I attended the Cooper School of Art for one year, I am pretty much self-taught, and have experimented with many types of media and processes: painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and photography. I have always been interested in the human figure and how, through gesture, expression, and most importantly emotion, a story can be told that the viewer can relate to.

 

"Doubt" Oil and Charcoal on Canvas, 40" x 30" by artist John Carlson. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Doubt” Oil and Charcoal on Canvas, 40″ x 30″

 

I studied art history and was building a body of work. I began to enter juried shows and approach galleries for representation. In 2010 my son Ryan died at the age of 26 from a drug overdose. My work took on a deeper and more somber tone in theme and content. I chose black and white for my palette and began exploring the themes of time, memory, dreams and survival.

 

"From Here In" Oil and Charcoal on Canvas, 53" x 45" by artist John Carlson. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“From Here In” Oil and Charcoal on Canvas, 53″ x 45″

 

I believe I have been given a gift by this event—I’ve been to a place of deep and unimaginable emotional experience that has allowed me to make art of extraordinary depth. Through painting, I’ve realized the full magnitude and power of art as a way of healing.

 

"On the Beach" Oil and Charcoal on Canvas, 60" x 45" by artist John Carlson. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“On the Beach” Oil and Charcoal on Canvas, 60″ x 45″

 

I begin a work with a series of sketches. I experiment with the placement of the image on the page until I’m satisfied that the composition is balanced and will provide the most impact. This allows me to commit to the canvas with confidence and a minimum of correction.

 

"Shade" Oil and Charcoal on Canvas, 24" x 30" by artist John Carlson. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“Shade” Oil and Charcoal on Canvas, 24″ x 30″

 

I then apply a coat of spackling to the canvas. This treatment gives the painting an agitated surface which personifies the emotional content of the image. As I work, I am aware of the negative space surrounding the image. This is most important, as it plays a significant role in allowing the viewers to use it to formulate their responses and support the narrative.

 

"The River" Oil and Charcoal on Canvas, 40" x 30" by artist John Carlson. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

“The River” Oil and Charcoal on Canvas, 40″ x 30″

 

I encourage the viewer to “fill in the space” with their own history and reactions, because then they’re a part of the implied drama just by virtue of looking at the work.

 

Artist John W. Carlson in his studio. See his portfolio by visiting www.ArtsyShark.com

Artist John W. Carlson in his studio

 

I am represented by HEDGE Gallery in Cleveland, Ohio. My work is in the permanent collections of the Erie Museum of Art in Erie, Pennsylvania and The Massillon Museum in Massillon, Ohio as well as private collections in the United States, Chile, the United Kingdom, Ethiopia, Iran, Johannesburg and Norway.

 

Artist John Carlson invites you to follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

 

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YES PLEASE!

Comments

  1. Wow. John Carlson’s work is powerful. Beautiful/Thoughtful/Dark…
    Thank you for getting him “out there” for us to see.

  2. Hello Ann.
    Thank you for your kind comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the work and please don’t hesitate to email me in the future as you follow my progress on my website. Have a great day!

  3. Biz Hayman says:

    I dont usually do this but just had to say something after seeing your powerful work, John. It’s moved me to tears. Yes, composition is everything. Thank you for that space that lets us in. I relate to your 1 year in the hands of the art institution before timely escape!

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