Biography

John Walker’s work centers around telling stories, tales of lost civilizations populated with fictional figures and imaginary creatures. Born in Aurora IL, he attended the College of DuPage and the American Academy of Art in Chicago before beginning a long career as an airbrush artist and illustrator. Much of his work is executed in a realistic manner that often includes elements of graphic design, stylization, and even three dimensional objects. He has has won numerous awards including Best in Show at the Richeson 75 International Portrait and Figure Competition and the National Society of Painters in Casein and Acrylic Award at the 59th Annual NSPC&A Exhibit. His work has appeared in the “AcrylicWorks Best of Acrylic Painting” annuals, Beautiful Bizarre Magazine #39, Spectrum Art annual, Acrylic Artist magazine and the French contemporary art magazine Hey!. His studio is located in a suburb west of Chicago, IL.

Artist’s Statement

I've always loved the idea of telling a story with my artwork. Sometimes the story is complete before I put pencil to paper, or brush to board, but usually it evolves as the work progresses. Sometimes I even discover there's a surprise ending I didn't see coming. Those paintings are the most fun.

Labeling my artistic style has never been something I cared to do as I'm not averse to exploring new artistic territory now and again. My feeling is, I do what I do and try to make it the best I can, let the viewer or art critic decide what tag to apply. But seeing as how discussing art can be tough without offering at least a broad indication of what your work is all about, I'll say it probably falls within the pop surrealism/lowbrow/new-contemporary art genres, generally with a hint of satire and a dash of dark humor.

I've primarily worked on two series in the last 10 years, with a few offshoots from time to time. The first I call "The Dankquart Collection". Based on the theory that we exist in a multiverse, the artwork centers around a concept of a newly discovered, lost civilization, (which comes from by my failed attempt at writing a novel). These are my reliquary and tabernacle framed pieces. For most I built embellished frames featuring sculpted elements, the frames becoming more elaborate as the series grew. The invented history on which they were conceived progressed and the artwork reflected that progression spilling over into depictions of the society's myths and legends.

The second and current series features various animal and animal hybrid subjects. Many of the paintings retain elements of Dankquart Collection mixed with those of psychedelia and pop culture usually with that darker edge simmering just below the surface. A certain history has evolved within this series too and my latest work touches on ideas of a post apocalyptic world in which the inhabitants bounce along on inflatable playground balls or roll on wheels. Who knows what stories these creatures have yet to tell me? I can't wait to keep painting and find out.

CV

Education
College of DuPage, Wheaton, IL 1976 -1978
American Academy of Art, Chicago, IL 1978 - 1981

Press
2023 Tea and Canvas podcast episode 91
2022 Feature interview Beautiful Bizarre Magazine #39
2022 Online feature interview, "Painting With Pets" Beautiful Bizarre Magazine Link
2021 Feature Interview for The Art of Art group show at Modern Eden, WhiteHot Magazine Link
2019 “Hey! French Art and Culture Magazine” interview with select work featured
2016 Drawings featured in “100 Great Drawings” Poets and Artists magazine #789 curated by Steven DaLuz
2015 “AcrylicWorks: The Best of Acrylic Painting #3” two paintings selected fort inclusion; “Avian Communication in the Apocalyptic Mind”, and “The Arrival”
2014 Acrylic Artist magazine Fall, 2014, article, “Mining the Imagination”
“AcrylicWorks: Radical Breakthroughs”, North Light Books compendium 2014, “Winter Contemplation”

2013 “AcrylicWorks: The Best of Acrylic Painting”, North Light Books compendium 2013, “VooDoo Steps Out”

Exhibitions and Awards

2023
Bacchus group show Modern Eden Gallery "The Invitation"
Arch Enemy Arts Gallery Curtsied 2 group show "The Cofferer"
Solo show Beinart Gallery (June)
"MicroVisions 6" WOWxWOW online group show
"Daydream" group exhibition Beinart Gallery, "Boney Bunny From the Heart"
"Year of the Rabbit" group show Modern Eden, "Days of Mystery and Wonder"
"Divine Breath" group show Arch Enemy Arts, "The Young Anatomist and the Not Very Magic Carpet"

2022
"Danse Macabre" group show Modern Eden, "Dreams for You"
“With Love Your Biggest Fan” group show Arch Enemy Arts, “Are We Not Human?”
10th Anniversary Show group show at Arch Enemy Arts, “Professor Strangeways Evolution Lesson”
“100 Trees” Modern Eden Gallery, group show with partner reforestation charity, “Call of the Sentinel”
“Spring Surreal” group show at Stone Sparrow NYC, “Dream Into Reality Into Dream”, “Rolling Rabirdt”
“Fiends of the Darklll” WOWxWOW online group show celebrating dark art, “The Bonecollector in Bloom”

2021
“The Devil is in the Details” group show at Stone Sparrow NYC, “The Return of Mr Glimmer
“The Portrait Show IX” at Modern Eden Gallery “The Night the Sky Fell”
“The Art of Art” a group show curated by Michael Cuffe at Modern Eden Gallery, “The Gift”
“Looking With the Heart” a group show celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Little Prince first publication, “A Child of the Heavens Sees With the Heart”
“Dark Art Exhibition” Beinart Gallery group show, “The Firebird”
“Metamorphosis” a four person show at Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco, CA. Five paintings, “Celestial Flyer”, “The Midnight Spell”, “Triumph”, “Behind the Mask”, “Luna”.
WOWxWOW.com group show, Wake the Moon, “The Raven Seer”.

2020
“Contemporary Narratives” group show, Stone Sparrow NYC Gallery, New York, NY. “Minotaur and the Yellow Bird”, “A Visit to the Healer”, “Two Ravens and the Origin of Time”.
"Roadside Attractions IV" group show Copro Gallery curated by Chris Velasco, "Pathways and Prophecies"
“New Growth” group show, Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco, CA. “The Maiden and the Trickster”
“Mermay” group show, Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco, CA. “The Promise, Broken”
“The Portrait Show VIII-Profiles” group show, Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco, CA. “A Dream of Birdland

2019
“Prairie Gothic” Beverly Area Arts Alliance group show, Chicago
“Just Bee… Wonderfully Weird Wonders” Curly Tale Fine Art group show, Chicago, “The Beekeeper’s Widow”
“Nocturnal Bloom” WowxWow.com group show, “Mystic Traveller”
“Still Evens” Arch Enemy Arts, Philadelphia, “The Timekeeper’s Paradox”
“Dangerous Lullabies” Dole Mansion Crystal Lake, IL, dark art themed group show, “Reliquary of the Azure Angel”, Awarded Best in Show

2018
“Night Garden” group show, Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco, CA, “Waking the May Queen”
“Small Wonders 7” Arch Enemy Arts group show of small works, “The Blind Queen, “The Mischief Maker”
“Shadow and Grace” WowxWow.com six person group show, “Thirteen Days till Harvest”, “Captain Perilous Darke”, “Portrait of a Mystic”, “Spell of the Mystic”, three graphite on paper sketches
“Baby Mama” group show, Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco, CA, “The Origin of Deadalin Darke”
“Periodic Table of Elements” group show, Arch Enemy Arts Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, “Phosphorus” mixed media reliquary piece

2017
“Loved to Death” group show curated by Audra K., Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco, “The Surrogate”
“Showcase 2017”, Arch Enemy Arts, Philadelphia, PA, “Pledge”, “Reliquary of an Apiarist”
“Flower Child”, Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco, CA group show, “Gaia”
“Lover’s Eye”, Modern Eden Gallery, San Francisco, CA group show, “Mine”

2016
3 drawings featured in “100 Great Drawings” Poets and Artists magazine issue #789 curated by Steven DaLuz
“Swarm” group show, Sidetracked Studio, Evanston, IL. “Reliquary of an Apiarist”
“Freak Out” invitational group show, Zhou B Art Center, Chicago. “Unexpected Rhythms”

2015
“Enchantment-Nature Re-Imagined” Beverly Area Arts Alliance sponsored exhibition, Chicago, IL. Featuring seven pieces from the Dankquart Collection series
Poets/Artists magazine, Issue #62, April 2015, “Traversing the Parallel”
“Immortality and Vulnerability” Invitational show curated by Didi Menendez and Sergio Gomez. Zhou B. Art Center Chicago IL, “Traversing the Parallel”

2014
Lore Degenstein Gallery Sixth Annual Figurative Drawing and Painting Exhibition, “Avian Communication in the Apocalyptic Mind”
August 2014 issue of MiPOesias Magazine, “Portrait of Poet Edward Nudelman”
Cover, August 2014 issue of MiPOesias (GOSS183 Publishing Group), “So Alice Went Through the Looking-Glass Again”
Curator’s Choice 10th National Self Portrait Exhibition, Zhou B Art Center, Chicago, IL. “Happy Face”
National Society of Painters in Casein and Acrylic, 60th annual exhibition, Salmagundi club, NY, “So Alice Went Through the Looking-Glass Again”
Outstanding Acrylic, Boldbrush Competition,February, “So Alice Went Through the Looking-Glass Again”

2013
Outstanding Acrylic, Boldbrush Competition, December, “Red Mittens”
Best in Show, Richeson 75 International Portrait and Figure Competition, 2013, “The Fisherman’s Wife”
Richeson 75 International Portrait and Figure Competition, 2013, Exhibition inclusion- Black and White Self, Catalog inclusion- “VooDoo Steps Out”
Solo show Addison Center for the Arts, Addison, IL September 2013
National Society of Painters in Casein and Acrylic Award, 59th Annual NSPC&A Exhibit, NY, “Ginni Moon Prepares for Takeoff”
Self-Portrait Award of Distinction, “Within”, 9th annual self portrait juried exhibition, 33 Contemporary Gallery, Chicago, IL, “Black and White Self”
National Art Premiere 2013, North American juried exhibition, “Born With a Tale”

2012
Finalist - Artist’s Magazine 29th Annual Art Competition, Portrait and Figure category, “Rose”
Carriage House National Juried Exhibit, “The Fisherman’s Wife”
Alliance of Fine Arts, “Best of the Best,” Best in Show, “The Rabbit Fur Cap”