John Coleman (b. 1949) was born in Southern California and began his early art studies at the Art Center for Design in Los Angeles. Sculpting full time since 1994, John was voted into professional membership of The National Sculpture Society of New York in 1999.
John was brought into the Cowboy Artist of America in October, 2001, and is a fellow member of the National Sculpture Society. He usually has six or seven works-in-progress at any one time and will introduce four to five new editions each year.
“I am fascinated how music can convey a mood without lyrics and have often thought sculpture lends itself to that idea. I have always loved history and mythology and feel they are the lyrics to my sculpture; the musical interpretation that engages the emotions. Just as music has a beginning, a middle and an end, so does sculpture.
I like to tell stories in my work using metaphors that help explain who we are and from where we came. Creating an object means little to me unless I can portray an underlying emotion or analogy. Each piece tells a story in the three dimensional, a visual mythology written by my hands and spiritual imagination, somehow linking us to the past and bringing us to a greater understanding of our ancestors.”
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John Coleman | Soul Connections
By: Norman Kolpas | Southwest Art | October 14, 2016
John Coleman captures the spirit of American Indian life in bronze, charcoal, and oil
This story was featured in the October 2016 issue of Southwest Art magazine.
Amidst the soft light and deep shadows of a teepee’s interior, a young girl communes with her favorite doll, dressed like her in native garb and, also like her, with jet-black hair falling in two long braids. On the slanting wall of hide behind her hang other dolls, each possessing its own spirit and story waiting to be breathed into life in the girl’s hands.
Entitled POWWOW WITH THE LITTLE PEOPLE, the recent charcoal drawing by John Coleman presents such rich contrasts of tone and texture, such assured and harmonious composition, that it, too, seems to breathe with life. Absorbed in the scene, a viewer might forget that the work is in black and white—imagining a blush in the girl’s cheeks, the buckskin browns of the dolls’ clothing—only to suddenly realize the absence of color. “That goose-bump factor is what I’m looking for,” says the artist. “Whatever the medium, you have to create the illusion of life.”
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