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 John P. Smolko  (1950 - )

About: John P. Smolko


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Lived/Active: Ohio      Known for: figural, portrait, Photo Expressionism

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Biography from Butler Institute of American Art:
Born Cleveland, Ohio January 18, 1950

1983-2006:  Aurora City Schools, Secondary Art Instructor
1982-1983: Freelance Illustrator, Plain Dealer Magazine
1980-1983:  Kent State University, Visiting Assistant Professor
1981-1983: Cuyahoga Valley Art Center, Drawing Instructor.
1982-1983:  Canton Art Institute, Drawing and Painting Instructor
1975-1981:  Akron University Continuing Eduation Special Programs

Workshops and Presentations:
2006: Mentor Society of Artists, Wild Woods Cultural Arts Center (Critique)
1982-1984: Boston Mill Artisan Workshop
1984: Akron Society of Artists

The Artist's Magazine 23rd Annual Art Competition, Finalist in Experimental Category; Detroit District Chapter Award for Excellence from the 2006 CPSA 14th International Exhibition; Canson Fine Art Materials Award for Outstanding Recognition from 2005 13th CPSA International Exposition; Juror's Award Ohio Art Educator's Exhibition at Marieta College Art Department; Purchase Award State Teachers Retirement System  2003, 2001, 2000; Second Place People's Choice Award Pittsburgh Technical Institute;  Graduate Student Teaching Awards at Kent State University.

Biography from Butler Institute of American Art:
Artist Statement:

I have been a Realist in one form or another ever since college.  My fascination with the visual world has never abated and I find myself overwhelved with the variety of form and beauty ever present in our environment.  Early in my career I took the Organic point of view for Realism and drew objects entirely from my surroundings and always of a personal nature.  I later experimented with Symbolism and stated to explore the wonders of color through colored pencils  This transformation of my work was scrutinized by colleagues of mine through a critique group that has been in existence for over twenty years. 

I highly recommend that all artists share their work and dialogue with other professionals.  This is a time honored tradition and I strongly suggest you find colleagues who are opinionated and work in a variety of styles.  Our critique group also exhibits together, as often as possible, and we find each other to be a source of inspiration and motivation.  When you're part of a group like this you find out fast that it doesn't take very  much to provide you with a watershed moment.  After an animated critique session with several of my colleagues, one of them said, "John, the most honest kind of line you can make is a scribble."  I took that philosophy to heart and began to explore expressive line with all its beauty and dynamics. 

I was always interested in cross-hatching and color theory, but my work before relied on traditional methods of layering and blending.  As a Realist these techniques worked early in my career, but the call of linear expression was an opportunity to grow and mature as an artist of one's own time.  My subject matter consists of students of mine, friends, colleagues, and family members.  I use a digital camera to take references for my creations and may take up to thirty photographs to help establish an effective composition.  You might call my approach a form of Photo Expressionism, though I find it difficult to label my work in Contemporary Art's Melting Pot of styles, techniques and ideas.  I place a premium on quality and creativity and I always strive for personal expression. 

I am a high school art teacher and I draw what I know and experience.  Art is my life- style and I can't think of a better way for an individual to creatively pass their time on this planet.

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