Growing up the son of a Professor of Logic and Philosophy, I learned from an early age to question the meaning of things and not to accept the obvious interpretations. My journey into the study of art might seem the opposite direction of my father’s life work, but as I once put it to him, our paths were much the same. We each dedicated our studies to something most people would consider unnecessary in going about their daily lives, but in fact our pursuits captured the very essence of what makes us human.
My work has many influences, from centuries old Chinese and Japanese landscapes to African tribal masks, Color Field painting, Theatre of the Absurd, Pop Art, Abstract Expressionism, Hunter S. Thompson, Dada, Surrealism and the American Dream. I am captivated by the beauty of abstraction in works of humans and nature, their intersection and the ravages of time on both. I draw on my own adventures in living, foibles and shortcomings.
In my work, I seek to create pieces which raise questions, poke fun and spawn contemplation. I prefer to work small as I feel that draws the viewer in closer and makes a more personal connection. At its best, I hope my work tells a story which is not always known to me and allows new interpretations with each new viewer. My recent encaustic work often contains images from our travels, each with its own story. While my lovely wife pays rapt attention to the history and meaning of the sites we visit, I am drawn to the visuals, to which I later ascribe possibly cryptic context and history through juxtaposition and interaction with the wax, color, other images and objects… or not. Sometimes it just is what it is.
John Angell Bio
I graduated from the University of Michigan in 1976 with a BFA and a BA in History of Art. While my fine arts degree was in photography, I enjoyed painting, drawing and collage more than time spent in the darkroom. A few years after graduating I moved to San Francisco, thinking I would enter the art scene there, but could not reconcile with the starving part of starving artist or going commercial. I turned my talents to managing the box offices for major performing arts organizations, with some forays into artistic expression along the way.
In 1991, I was reunited with the love of my life, married and moved to Sacramento where I continued my creative journey working as a Programmer Analyst and Project Manager for Fortune 100 companies and major non-profits until retiring in 2012. Throughout this time, I used my training as an artist to look at things from a different perspective and to envision and realize better solutions while spicing up the workplace with custom trophies, retirement notices and other artifacts. I continued my creative pursuits for my own enjoyment over the years through photography, designing and building furniture, drawings and other art/design work.
After retirement, I took a few encaustic workshops which opened up a whole new world for me. After many years in artistic hibernation, 2021 was a breakout year for me. I was prolific in the studio, creating 100 works of art and participating in Sac Open Studios for the first time. My work was accepted to twenty exhibitions including A World Apart, my first solo show in many years. My work is in collections in New York, California, Chicago, Nevada, Michigan, Connecticut, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Vermont, Hawaii and Strasbourg. I feel I have found my way home at last.