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John Yoyogi Fortes

John Yoyogi Fortes

“How do you explain the need to go into the studio? It’s not so easy to put into words, but conversations I’ve had with other artists prove we share the same repercussion. You get antsy, crabby, are difficult to be around and oftentimes feel incomplete. Having a partner that’s supportive and who understands your compulsion to make objects that have “no utilitarian function,” is by virtue a huge plus. My hat goes off to all Art Wives, Art Husbands and Art Partners! You anoint our art through your tears.
 
For me, making art is an integral part of my daily routine and a way to sort through personal issues or concerns. If I’m not making art, I’m probably thinking about it in one way or another. It’s not a hobby, nor a luxury. It’s a second job that can shower me with reward and simultaneously kick me square in the ass. Despite that, I take my second job seriously. It can renew me as quickly as it can take my confidence. And who needs critics when I after all, am my worst art enemy. Let me set the record straight once and for all. There is nothing romantic about being an artist, yet there is something oddly fulfilling about being one.
 
The subject matter of my paintings is very broad, but their underlying theme always revolves around issues of identity, self and the human condition. In past bodies of work, the concept was the driving force behind the way my paintings were constructed. It dictated heavily the choices I’d make when selecting images to be used. Over time however, this approach has been more stifling than fostering. These past few years I’ve transitioned to a process working more intuitively at the onset. Then, as content and meaning develop, the choices I make become more focused and deliberate. The layering of paint, meaning and the relationships formed by juxtaposed imagery are very important in creating a visual hierarchy.
                                    
When making art I’m not thinking about the viewer or how the work will be perceived regarding it’s content. In the studio, it’s between the materials and me. It’s about aligning with that inner space where ideas flow freely and reveling in that moment where actions transcend language. When the act is complete hopefully you’re left with a painting whose parts work in conjunction with one another and leave you energized to confront your next work of art.”


See more of John’s work and studio

Watch a video of John creating one of his paintings from beginning to end

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