John A Kurtz does things his own way. He is one of those guys that has nothing else to prove. He has done it all and continues to do it all unapologetically. His psychedelic art tattoos itself on your brain and stays true to its intended strangeness. The interview with John was a short one but it packs a full punch that is sure to be felt by any art lover. See it the terse but solid interview below.
No, art will not change the world, its too low on …”
Please give us a little of your background
I was born in Chicago in 1942 to Mary Ellen and Anthony Kurtz. I am the oldest of their 9 children (4 boys, 5 girls). At the age of 5 the family moved to Des Plaines IL. There, I attended St. Mary’s elementary and Maine Township High Schools. My introduction to art was the comic books, Mad Magazine with Wally Wood, Jack Davis, and especially Basil Wolverton. Also in the mix were George Herriman’s Krazy Kat , (fanciful,surreal landscapes), Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy, ( strong bold panels with simple gags) and the best, Walt Kelly’s Pogo,( Intelligent design, great political satire).
What is your earliest art memory?
Earliest art memory, in grammar school I would sign papers with Kelly’s Albert The Alligator, much to the dismay of the nuns. Two years high school art and the mentoring of art instructor Richard Meyers led to a scholarship from the Park Ridge Art League for a year ( $500.) at the Art Institute in Chicago. One year later I joined the U.S. Navy and enrolled in the Naval photographic school. Photography my first love ( and still a passion ), I’m sure I’d be doing that now if I could have made a living at it. After 4 years in the Navy, 2 years as a commercial photographer I took up painting for the first time (1968) doing street fairs and bar shows. I have been fortunate that I have been able to continue painting and making art all these years through the friendship and generosity of many wonderful folks !!!
What are you trying to convey with your art?
As to what Am I trying to convey with my art I’m not sure. Lately I have been painting aliens, clowns, birds and some sort of skull, I’m exploring places I would like to see as a traveler just stopping by for a moment, taking note, and moving on . Each piece is an extension of the last, the more curious I am the more I am filled with awe and wonder.
Will art change the world?
No, art will not change the world, its too low on the totem pole. There is hope though that music as a universal language can. Tchaikovsky perhaps?
Any strange thought that you want to share?
No strange thoughts or unique attributes that I wish to go into now.
How can people learn more about you and your work?
I didn’t have a web site as yet, I’m still a dinosaur in that respect, but my Facebook art page is a good destination to find my information and art.
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