A master of illusion, John is celebrated for his mind-boggling 3D wall sculptures. Incorporating influences from world-famous artists like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Banksy and Robert Indiana, his surreal compositions and art gallery scenes are definite conversation-starters.
One Christmas as a 12-year-old boy, John was given a set of oil paints and an easel. Painting revealed a whole new world of colour and texture, and even now, over 40 years later, he uses the same easel. Inspirations include artists like Banksy and L.S. Lowry, along with his own family. In fact, his stick figure characters are adapted from his daughter’s scribbles.
In a world of digital trickery and special effects, it takes a true artist to conjure an illusion with a trusty paintbrush and canvas. All of John’s three-dimensional artworks are originally painted by hand without any digital images or tracing. He does this by painting a perspective in reverse: the parts on the canvas farthest from your eyes are the largest, and the parts closer to your eyes are smaller. As you stand away from the painting, the farthest parts seem to come forwards, and the nearest parts appear to move backwards, reversing the whole picture and creating a 3D effect.
From cityscapes to beach scenes, art galleries and fantasy worlds, John experiments with a range of compositions. He often features elements from seminal works by other artists, including Vincent van Gogh's post-impressionist backgrounds, René Magritte's bowler hat figure and Banksy's street art. For the full spectrum of movement, his artworks are best hung with the centre at eye level. Simply step from left to right to see the magic for yourself!
John says: “Picasso once said that he spent his life trying to paint like a child. This inspired me to mix children’s art with the carefully-planned paintings of an adult artist. I always look at things through rose-coloured glasses. I like to look for the good in things, and I try to depict this in my paintings.”
John achieves an incredible texture on his artworks by working with paintbrushes, palette knives, toothbrushes and even a meat skewer! He says: "As an artist, you can never say that you know it all. Every day you are experimenting with something… colours, texture or subject. Whatever it may be, it’s what makes this job so exciting.”
He adds: “I always have to bear in mind the effect that reverse perspective will have on what I want to paint. When painting a gallery scene, it can be difficult to get any depth into a picture. I try to achieve this by painting layers of the walls getting farther back, giving the appearance of depth on a flat canvas.”
John works from his home studio in New Zealand and enjoys walking along the beaches nearby. He reveals: “My studio is like a magnet to me: every time I walk past the door and get that smell of linseed and turpentine, I’m drawn inside. Painting now takes up most of my time: I go to bed thinking of my latest painting, and wake up with ideas for the next."
If you like reading about our artists' studios, don't miss our regular Studio Sessions feature in Fine Art Collector magazine. Catch up on previous issues here.
John D Wilson returns with his most ambitious collection to date! Over the years, the master of illusion has perfected his technique of ‘reverse perspective’, which sees his art transform viewers' perception of objects near and far.
The Spring 2019 issue of Fine Art Collector is brimming with insights and news from the art world, as well as all of your favourite artists.
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