Ever since I can remember I have created my own worlds through drawing and painting. As a child it was a way I could explore, and to some extent, comprehend some of the imagery that captivated me. Decades later the act of creating continues to be both a reflection of my current life and an ongoing response to the visual language that I first became aware of as a child.
The purest themes of my work have been the passing of life, devotion, idolatry and a fascination with martial imagery, especially that of protection.
For more than three decades, similar themes have been explored in still-lifes composed as shrines, portraits of friends as soldiers, and more complex narratives as represented in the Urban Classical, Idols, and Immortal series of paintings.
The landscapes in the narrative paintings hold an equal presence to the subjects. Ruins, fortresses, bunkers and temples refer to past moments and crumbled dreams. Clouds, water and fire populate the landscapes, offering God-like rays, distorted reflections, and elements of an apocalyptic event. Women are often the protagonist of the paintings, represented as soldiers, Goddesses, angels and Saints. In contrast, men have often taken the forms of fallen statues or inanimate objects, until recently, where they have become soldiers, weary of battle.
In 2015 I began sculpting. These works, like my paintings are as much landscape as figure, using the concept of a concrete bunker as a temple and sanctuary.
In an increasingly digitized world, the devotional act of making my own art takes on an even greater importance. While many of the most important artists of our time have their concepts outsourced to artisans to manufacture, the singular act of painting remains a devotional profession for me. At the best of moments I create in an enlightened state. This is how I felt as a child.
Bio: John Wellington was born on January 8, 1961 in Santa Monica, California. He has lived in France, Italy, and New York City where he currently resides. John received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1983 and his MFA at The New York Academy of Art in 1990.
John Wellington has taught traditional painting techniques at The New York Academy of Art and privately in his atelier for two decades. He also lectures and teaches painting workshops across the county and runs an en plein air workshop in Paris every summer. His paintings have been in numerous exhibitions and art fairs in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, and Paris. He has shown at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and The Arnot Museum in New York. John has painted alongside of the Prince of Wales and is in his private collection as well as other prominent collections in the US, Asia and Europe.