John Angell



Artist Statement

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

Born outside of New York City, John Angell graduated from University of Michigan in 1976 with a BFA and a BA in History of Art.  While his fine arts degree was in photography, he enjoyed painting, drawing and collage more than time spent in the darkroom.  A few years after graduating he moved to San Francisco, thinking he would enter the art scene there, but could not reconcile with the starving part of starving artist or going commercial.  He turned his talents to managing the box offices for major performing arts organizations, with random forays into artistic expression along the way.  In 1991, he was reunited with the love of his life, married and moved to Sacramento where he continued his 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, he used his art school education 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. John continued his creative pursuits for his own enjoyment over the years doing photography, designing and building furniture and producing sporadic drawings and other art/design work. After retirement, he took a few encaustic workshops, which opened up a whole new world for him.  John’s encaustic work allows him to incorporate his original photographs, found objects and other media in ways that reflect his artistic approach and evolution.  He feels he has found his way home at last.