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John Angell

Mixed Media, Painting, Photography


4337 Valmonte Drive
Sacramento, CA 95864
2023 Open Studio:

About John Angell

Growing up the son of a Professor of Logic and Philosophy, I learned from an early age to question the meaning of things and not to accept the obvious interpretations.  My journey into the study of art might seem the opposite direction of my father’s life work but as I once put it to him, our paths were much the same.  We each dedicated our studies to something most people would consider unnecessary in going about their daily lives but, in fact, our pursuits captured the very essence of what makes us human.

I graduated from University of Michigan in 1976 with a BFA and a BA in History of Art.  A few years after graduating I moved to San Francisco, thinking I would enter the art scene there, but could not reconcile with the starving part of starving artist or going commercial.  While doing various work for a living, I continued my creative pursuits for my own enjoyment over the years through photography, designing and building furniture, drawings and other art/design work.

After retirement, I took a few encaustic workshops which opened up a whole new world for me.  I love encaustic because it allows me to incorporate my original photographs, found objects (many of which I have had for decades) and other media in ways that reflect my artistic approach and evolution.  I can create work that blurs the lines between painting, collage and photography with strong textural elements.  Encaustic has a warmth, depth and luster that only the wax can bring.  I feel I have found my way home at last.

After many years in artistic hibernation, 2021 was a breakout year for me. In 2021 and 2022 my work was accepted into over fifty exhibitions including four solo shows with four more lined up for 2023.  I have received honors in eight of the shows I have entered including 4th Place in the prestigious Crocker Kingsley exhibition. My work is in private collections in New York, California, Chicago, Nevada, Michigan, Connecticut, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, North Carolina, Vermont, Hawaii, Tokyo and Strasbourg. 

My work has many influences, from centuries-old Chinese and Japanese landscapes to African tribal masks, Color Field painting, Theatre of the Absurd, Pop art, Abstract Expressionism, Hunter S. Thompson, Dada, Surrealism and the American Dream.  I am captivated by the beauty of abstraction in works of humans and nature, their intersection and the ravages of time on both.  I draw on my own adventures in living, foibles and shortcomings. 

In my work, I seek to create pieces which raise questions, poke fun and spawn contemplation.  I prefer to work small as I feel that draws the viewer in closer and makes a more personal connection.  At its best, I hope my work tells a story which is not always known to me and allows new interpretations with each new viewer.  My recent photo encaustic work often contains images from our travels, each with its own story.  While my lovely wife pays rapt attention to the history and meaning of the sites we visit, I am drawn to the visuals, to which I later ascribe possibly cryptic context and history through juxtaposition and interaction with the wax, color, other images or objects…   or not.  Sometimes it just is what it is.

@JangellArt on Instagram

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