John Paul received his BFA in printmaking from Rhode Island College in 2010 and his MFA from The Ohio State University in 2012. During the summer of 2011, John interned at Island Press in St. Louis printing editions for renowned artists Ann Hamilton and Trenton Doyle Hancock. Since then, John has held several academic positions and attended residencies at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia and the Lawrence Arts Center, in Lawrence, Kansas. In 2015, John decided to move back to Rhode Island in attempts to make it a permanent home. Currently, he teaches drawing courses at Rhode Island College, Silkscreen at the As220 Community Print Studio, and is excited to lead the effort to bring the SGCI National Printmaking Conference to Providence for the year 2021.
Distressed apartment buildings and defaced structures became the early inspiration for my current work. I was attracted to the walls of the city for their visual and textural properties; the cracks, chipping paint, poorly removed graffiti, flashy advertisements, and the ever-looming surveillance camera. Growing up in Providence in the early 90’s provided enough visual material to work with, but I was also interested in how life in the inner city began to change at the turn of the century with advances in technology. Posters and bulletins boards were being replaced with QR codes, human interaction was replaced with texting, and privacy had become a luxury many still struggle to maintain. I have ongoing bodies of work that deal with these very issues.
As we became more dependent on technology, we also began to place value in a digital aesthetic. Designers are now designing things to look digital and pixilated. Artists started to bring back 8-bit imagery and things like glitch-art started to emerge. What are we seeing? Is this a new art movement? In 2011, James Bridle addressed the new trend. He coined the term “New Aesthetic,” to describe our society’s newfound fascination with blurring the line between physical and virtual. My latest work is an interpretation of this concept… often times blurring the line between found, hand-made, and digitally produced.
Through printmaking, I have developed an appreciation for the process of developing multi-color images. Variations of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black have become common colors in both my two and three dimensional work. This color scheme references how computers make sense of and depict our world. This, combined with the acts of printing, painting, sanding, and collage, are meant to explore the aesthetic place where physical and virtual meet.