As a young boy John Powell spent many hours with his father, a prominent
artist in California. John was supplied with a canvas and paints to
keep him occupied during time spent in the studio. Such occasions proved
to be an important first step in John's career.
John recalls one
weekend in particular when long hours were spent in the studio listening
to his father and artist, Will Foster, discuss color. "I was on the bus
going home to Hollywood. The evening was warm and the shadows strong.
Suddenly it hit me like a mallet on the head; there it was, all the
colors they were talking about. The trees weren't just green; they
were blue and purple and orange. I remember that experience like it
was yesterday; I think of it as my awakening." This recollection
of those early years is significant, as it is not merely the facility
of the hand that makes the artist; it is the ability to see.
John enlisted in the Navy after
graduating from high school. During this time, two years were spent
in Japan. This environment was instrumental in John's development,
it was here that he became acutely aware of his artistic needs. His
drawings from this period reflect the Far Eastern influence and design
elements that would mold his eventual style.
After four years in the
Navy, John enrolled in the Mexico City College in Mexico City, known
for its excellent art department. The influence of the primitive arts
of Mexico made an indelible imprint which would be forever expressed
during John Powell's career. John made a serious effort to establish
an art career on his return to Los Angeles. During this period, leisure
time was passed with other artists, including his closest friends,
Altoon and Ed Kienholz, at their well known haunt, Barney's Beanery
in West Hollywood.
Today, John resides with his wife and children in
Santa Barbara, California. His home and studio have the unmistakable
feel of his creativity. A collection of wood carvings, weather vanes,
ceramic pots, old mode) ,airplanes, exotic fabrics and unusual antiques
delight the eye. The aesthetic gardens reflect his love of flowers
the magical drawings portray his never-ending humor.
travels in search of the unusual and the beautiful provide an element
of special character in his paintings. The artist's understanding of
the beloved artifacts and vases as subjects lends authenticity and
distinctive quality to his work, creating a mosaic of colors and patterns
when juxtaposed against flowers and fabrics.
When you examine his work
closely, you discover a unique, self-taught approach which is unlike
any other artist. With John's ever-increasing popularity, there are
many who attempt to imitate his work; however, they are unable to duplicate
the energy of the mind that creates these sparkling, decorative conceptions.