|Blue Phobos by John Stuart Berger|
Tim Kavi has had an online article published at:
Title: John Stuart Berger
by Tim Kavi
Publication: Imagine Magazine (Art Magazine); July 2009
This is an article on John Stuart Berger, an artist from the Sacramento California area.
Update: The link above no longer works (as of 2013), so I have reproduced the article below in its entirety. (I do retain authorial copyright). Hope you enjoy it! ~~TK
John Stuart Berger
By Tim Kavi
By growing up in the rural area of
Danville, Berger had plenty of opportunities
to reflect on the creatures as he played near the creek, and studied Audubon-like
Field Guides for inspiration. This
inspiration has led him to draw and sketch the creatures, and after developing
a basic drawing, he would play with them, exaggerating their features, or
changing their characteristics. (This was on paper and not as a genetic
engineer). Although the result of this
process seems at times to take on an animated quality, or a cartoon quality, Berger
says that the Field Handbooks and old Biology textbooks have been more of an
influence on his style, than the slight exposure he had to comic books as a kid. Berger has called this process of drawing
additional features as ‘mutating’ them. Once this happens, Berger took his creative
process a step further, where he found that his art could not only mutate the creatures
but morph them into different colors and new kinds of emotional lives.
By deconstructing and reshaping them as newly morphed beings that delight young and old, fascinate the curious, and overall, brings great interest among onlookers, Berger has given us alternative creatures that inspire and fascinate us and reminds us that the forces of Natural Selection could have come up with something entirely different if they only had the shaping skills that Berger has.
Berger's artistic vision certainly depicts the new creatures in a manner that adds emotional life, color, and plenty of room for mutated identities in interesting habitats that delights the imagination. If only evolution were concerned with aesthetics and meaning rather that bare survival. How much more interesting creatures could be, and Berger’s work certainly reminds us of that. Gone are the dull blacks, and grays, and other shades that Natural Selection has selected for in the past, and added are much brighter colors that would surely make such creatures much more interesting in the natural world amongst landscapes of colorful habitat. One wonders how they might avoid predators, but perhaps in their new worlds they are avoiding them. Or at least, in Berger’s scheme, the new creatures have not gone unprotected, for they have acquired teeth and a bite that their ancestors might never have dreamed of!
Painting in a style that some might call pop surrealistic, and others have certainly seen as surrealism, Berger’s work has been featured at a number of shows as an up and coming artist. Berger has done his work mostly in acrylics, but has done interesting work in ceramics, and some of his other paintings feature shapes and human figures rather than the creatures morphed and mutated from his youth. John Stuart Berger is certainly an interesting talent, well worth the attention he gets, and even more so, his original and innovative work should be considered an interesting object of acquisition among serious art collectors.
About the author: Tim Kavi is a poet from
. Kavi’s first collection
will be published shortly by Tilu Press.
“Emerging Goddess” is a collection of poetry that many see as love
poems, others see as poetry that worships the sacred goddess in her many forms,
and others say describes a longing for connection and dialogue with strong
existential themes. You can see some of
his poetry at: http://www.timkavi.blogspot.com