John Carollo

All objects and beings are made up of constantly moving energy sources and colors. They can be afterimages of physical movement, colors generated by certain moods or situations, or atmospheres that alter the landscape as they are projected in a specific direction. I aim to capture snapshots of those energies and colors, and by so doing illustrate that nothing in life is static. Everything is constantly moving, changing, growing, adapting. Each person, animal, plant or object contains inner zones of warmth and coolness, often unnoticed. Through the expressive style of my painting, I?hope to bring those areas to the surface in a manner that sparks emotional response and contemplation. The Watercolor medium has sometimes gotten stereotyped as a “pleasant” or “crafty” technique, best suited for use by beginning artists or those seeking to seeking to portray non-threatening scenery in a sedate and pastel manner. I feel this sterotype is misguided and work to illustrate that watercolor’s unique properties of transparency and atmospheric effect give it an advantage in conveying mood, motion, vibrancy and energy over any other medium. Watercolor is often referred to as the most difficult of painting forms to master. I do not disagree with that viewpoint, but instead offer that the reason so many find it challenging is artists attempt to work with it in a manner more suited to the use of acrylic or oil.
Success with watercolor instead relies on an artist’s ability to let go and allow the medium to lead the way. My approach follows this line of thinking in a technique I call Controlled Chaos. I approach a painting with a clear idea of mood, direction and theme, but once the piece is underway, the paint and water take over. Working rapidly, guiding them to create an end result that is a collaboration of artist and materials. The use of a great deal of paint and water presents an eternal struggle of balance. Sometimes the artist’s goal is more the end result, sometimes the paint’s is. Either outcome is equally interesting. We work together to shape a moving creation that only locks into place when it dries. Originally my work gravitated more toward geometric expressions of landscapes and surroundings, largely influenced by my mentor Rob Erdle, but as I pulled more of my own experience into the process, the paintings took on a unique style. My recent work has largely centered around capturing dancers mid-movement. This is somewhat due to a collaboration with the Voci modern dance company, but also draws extensively on my many year background designing and choreographing constantly moving youth performance groups. I developed an eye for visualizing how colors, shapes and people would look in motion and transferring those ideas to paper with the fluidity of watercolor has been a natural progression. Over the past few years, I discovered that my identifiable style and technique has been honed to the point that I can apply the movement I express in dancers to virtually any scene or object I choose to portray, including 3D installations made from watercolor and mixed media.

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