John Denis has been a full time working artist for over 25 years, exhibiting in over 100 juried arts shows throughout the USA. John's work is a reflection of time spent on the Pacific coast, the relevance and infinite character of the ocean fuels his senses and imagination.
Currently living, in Chicago the sights and sounds of the city are steering John's new work toward more contemporary, rhythmic and abstract forms.
Tell us about yourself and your background.
I was building small inventions, playing music and writing songs at nine years old. I joined an original 80’s band at ﬁfteen as lead singer and songwriter. We played along with a few large acts and ﬁnished with a press conference on cable TV in New York. Music lead me to New Orleans in my early twenties where I worked for a renowned metal sculptor. I would build sculptures in the day, listen and play music in the night. This was the catalyst for my work for the next 25 years.
I have participated in juried ﬁne art shows and expos throughout the country for years. This has exposed me to some of the most diverse and talented artists of today. It has also really helped me to develop my own approach.
"I stumbled on a new medium of glass, a hybrid of glass. I am using it in a way that has never quite been used before. I wanted scale and dimension that was not available in previous methods."
Tell us about your work.
I start with a block of plaster, clay or a free form armature. I then hand carve a form from the work and layer it with glass and acrylic by heating and cooling the surface. I then break away the form and what is left is the sculpture.
What is unique about your work?
I stumbled on a new medium of glass, a hybrid of glass. I am using it in a way that has never quite been used before. I wanted scale and dimension that was not available in previous methods. It’s the marriage between light, form and texture.
Why is your work a good investment?
I attribute thought to where my work is displayed and shown. The originality of my work stands for itself. Really I am not following any trend. I am not concerned with being associated with a scene or a fad, as much as something poetic with a life of its own. As time goes on the work develops its signature.
Tell us about some of your achievements.
In 2008 I was commissioned to do a large installation with my glass medium in a public building. It was ﬁve stories encompassing over sixty works hanging from metal cables enhanced LED lights. Some pieces as large as ten foot ranging in colors from blue, red, amber and green.
In 2018 Salvi Law Firm Chicago purchased a six foot tall sculpture for their newly remodeled lobby overlooking Lake Michigan.
In 2018, I was awarded Jurors Choice as Best Sculpture at New York’s Washington Square Art Festival as well as Jurors Choice at the Columbus Art Festival.
What are your sources of inspiration.
Travel, sometimes oﬀ the cuﬀ, listening and playing music, reading actual books. I grew up hiking in the southwest observing the cliﬀ formations, imagining how the elements formed these organic city-like structures.
I then moved to the west coast, began bodysurﬁng and walking the coastline. This was the seed for my future concepts on form and light.
"Much of my work is water in motion. It is a major element of the worlds commerce and eco-system, connecting us all in many ways. I’m venturing to highlight the magniﬁcence of water."
What are you passionate about?
How the new generation of artists are contributing to the awareness of the environment and its fragile position now. Much of my work is water in motion. It is a major element of the world's commerce and eco-system, connecting us all in many ways. I’m venturing to highlight the magniﬁcence of water.
Tell us about your upcoming projects.
I am currently working with a Chicago based design ﬁrm on an installation for a healthcare facility. I have been selected to showcase with the Ft Lauderdale gallery Artblend at SOFA (Sculpture Objects Functional Art) October 31-November 3, 2019, Navy Pier in Chicago. It is a premier international art fair dedicated to three-dimensional art and design. I am performing with my original band members of “Basic Elements” from the 80’s for a one time reunion celebration at The Mint in Los Angeles on November 16, 2019.
Tell us where you are based.
I am based in Chicago, an ultra-classic American city. It is literally a central player in the architectural boom. Chicago is layered with classic and modern design, structure and liberation. It is a city that is cradled by Lake Michigan which totally eﬀects the drama of the weather and climate.
"I would like the work to uplift, at the same time shift the viewers state of mind to an openness, a pause of words, to take a breath and feel a little more."