John August Swanson

John August Swanson makes his home in Los Angeles, California, where he was born in 1938. He paints in oil, watercolor, acrylic and mixed media, and is an independent print maker of limited edition serigraphs, lithographs and etchings.

His art reflects the strong heritage of storytelling he inherited from his Mexican mother and Swedish father. John Swanson’s narrative is direct and easily understood. He addresses himself to human values, cultural roots, and his quest for self-discovery through visual images. These include Bible stories and social celebrations such as attending the circus, the concert, and the opera. He also tells of everyday existence, of city and country walks, of visits to the library, the train station or the schoolroom. All his parables optimistically embrace life and one’s spiritual transformation.

John Swanson studied with Corita Kent at Immaculate Heart College. His unique style is influenced by the imagery of Islamic and medieval miniatures, Russian iconography, the color of Latin American folk art, and the tradition of Mexican muralists.

His art is in no way "naive." It is detailed, complex, and elaborate. Unlike many contemporary artists, John Swanson works directly on all phases in producing his original prints. His serigraphs (limited-edition screen prints) have from 40 to 60 colors printed, using transparent and opaque inks creating rich and detailed imagery. For each color printed the artist must draw a stencil on Mylar film. This stencil is transferred to the silk screen for printing the color ink on the serigraph edition. The resulting serigraph is a matrix of richly overlaid colors visually striking and technically masterful.