john zoller art

posted by the scholar on November 29th, 2007
filed under: art, paintings

i must admit i’m slightly stupefied by this artwork from miami artist john zoller. this is john’s united states color and learn series of paintings and drawings, a collection that he started several years ago and has been adding to regularly. they’re based on traditional american educational coloring books that were used to teach our culture’s history to children. these oversized, bright and playful presentations pay homage to traditional pop art style, and are the first reasons that compel you to look. the painting style is a familiar reflection of mid-century illustration techniques. each piece, soft and glistening with color, glitter, plastic eyeballs and pompoms, is a “typical” example of the pioneering spirit of our iconic forefathers and of average everyday youth at work and play. the longer you look, though, the quicker all that style falls to the wayside. the glitter turns cold, and those plastic eyes are more static and soulless than cute. imagine a seamless transport to a place where levels of high indoctrination, historical inaccuracies and modern tragedy meet a hungry longing for utopian youth, with nostalgia and dark humor as its vehicle, and walk the line into this collection.

john_zoller_eli_whitney

john_zoller_virginia_dare

john_zoller_shearing_sheep_in_nevada

john_zoller_walrus_in_alaska

 john_zoller_polar_bear_in_alaska

john_zoller_albert_IIIjohn_zoller_abe_lincoln

john_zoller_coal_miners_in_wv

john_zoller_we’re_coming

john_zoller_two_burqas

 

john_zoller_doll_dressjohn_zoller_doll_dress_yellowjohn_zoller_doll_dress_green

i want to speak to the versatility here. this is jarring social commentary wrapped in a bright and pretty package, but people can choose not to derive the deep meaning either, and can simply enjoy the images and historical narrative. of course i think the artwork is so much richer when looking at the complete picture. it’s edgy, political and eerily haunting. the artist himself describes the content of his series “like a time released drug with a long list of bad side effects.” how apropos.

to me, john’s painting technique and style is like a fabulous party, and the impact of these works is like the smoke that rolls into the room at the event. you might not notice it at first. when you do, it might make you uncomfortable, and when you leave, it lingers with you, just as the the events of the evening do in your mind. intertwined, integrated, affecting. the mark of a highly successful and satisfying experience.

thanks for the info, john!

john is currently participating in the happy days exhibit, curated by dorian gray, at john jones in london through november 30th (hurry!).

see his diverse portfolio on his website, and check out his cafepress shop too!


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12 Responses to “john zoller art”

  1. jordan Says:

    so good

  2. the scholar Says:

    hi jordan,

    yes it is fabulous and i’m so glad you are enjoying it!

    thanks for the visit!

  3. terry Says:

    COOL COOL COOL!

  4. the scholar Says:

    hi terry,

    i concur. the scale and the razzle dazzle of john’s mixed media elements to take your breath away. the impact of the social commentary is the lagniappe.

    nice 2 c u! 🙂

  5. sosser Says:

    a nostalgia cocktail with a poison twist!

  6. the scholar Says:

    hi sosser,

    aha! a very apt way to describe it indeed. i love the allegorical impact of john’s choice to use coloring books.

    thanks for the comment!

  7. technabob Says:

    I don’t know why, but I think the pom-poms look like gumballs to me. I think I’m food obsessed. Wait, are gumballs food?

  8. the scholar Says:

    hi bob,

    oh bob. go have some soup and then look again at the pompoms.

    thanks for the comment (i think)!

  9. allie Says:

    I live in KC, Mo. The weather has been down-right weird this year. It’s Dec. and the temp. was 70 last week. Our Fall lasted 3 months;usually it’s unbearably hot in Aug., Sept.’s nice and it’s colder than a witch’s titty by late Oct. My latest quip in conversations is, “YAY! Global-warming”. Needless to say, I appreciate the humorous work. I’m sure John would cringe, but I think these would make excellent cards. On hemp paper, of course.

  10. the scholar Says:

    hi allie,

    i’m glad you can see the humor in these works. i feel like the message comes like a freight train after you stare for a while. that would make for a pretty intense hemp card. 🙂

    thanks for the visit!

  11. clare Says:

    it’s really cute,those works are very interesting…

  12. the scholar Says:

    hi clare,

    they’re cute and shiny but they tell a lot of sad tales if you keep looking…

    thanks for stopping by!

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