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John DeDecker

I am a self-taught artist and scientist, with a deep interest in most subjects, who has struggled for years to find a balance between the logic that guides scientific thought, and the pure expression that creates art with feeling. Ultimately, I threw my lot in with the artists, even when doing science. I began painting shortly before dropping out of high school at 17. I promptly got a job and saved up money to travel in Europe, and importantly to visit the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay, Uffizi, and the Van Gogh Museum.


Seeing museum-worthy pieces inspired me to learn painting by studying works that moved me, and has had a profound impact on the development of my style. I appreciate the refinement and emphasis on chiaroscuro modelling of Caravaggio, the Flemish Masters, and Ingres; and am profoundly moved by paintings from the latter half of the 19th Century when impressions and expressions of reality replaced imitation. I immediately felt a deep connection with Van Gogh, Monet, Pierre Bonnard, and Maurice Denis, among others, and began experimenting with their styles in my free time. I chose the late 19th Century as the starting point for my artistic exploration because I connect with how the Impressionists and their offshoots represented the world as filtered through the artists perception. There are many paths yet untaken from this revolutionary period in art history, and my vision lies along one of these paths.


I moved to Flagstaff, AZ in 2001 and immediately had a burst of creativity upon seeing the Colorado Plateau for the first time. It was then that I became predominately a landscape painter, and began a more serious study of Art History, Astronomy, and Geology, all in the service of furthering my painting. I was introduced to the work of Alphonse Mucha and art nouveau, and immediately felt a resonance with elegant use of line. Some aspects of cubism and its offshoots drew my interest as well, particularly the work of Umberto Boccioni. A vision began to form in my mind of a synthesis between the expressiveness of post- impressionism, the fine line of art nouveau, and the mastery of modelling and painterliness of Ingres and Delacroix; vision of a hybrid form of representational art I've been chasing ever since.


Meanwhile, I pursued my own studies of Astronomy, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Geology. What began as a deep interest spurred on by landscape painting led me to get a Doctorate in Geology, a pursuit that occupied the better part of a decade. I still painted, but the bulk of my efforts were focused on science. Following the Doctorate, my work in Geology has taken me to some spectacular and remote landscapes all over the world, fueling a revived passion for painting and pursuing painting as a profession. I'm an artist more than a scientist, but science has taught me the rigor of observation, and opened my mind to different ways of thinking about space, time, and existence in general. I've realized these have illuminated the path for me to pursue my artistic vision further. Every painting I do is a step along this path.

John DeDecker
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