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Photo by Dante Fontana
“If you know what you’re painting, then you’re not painting. If you don’t know...then you’re painting.”
John Jurisich learned this lesson the hard way in February of 1970. At the age of 44, he was first introduced to oil paints. His daughter, who was an artist herself, bought him his first set of oils and told him to just start painting. Jurisich started out trying to learn from a seascapes book while using a pallet knife, but it wasn’t long before he became frustrated and swiped the canvas with the pallet knife. After the first swipe he went back, more controlled this time, and slowly began to remove little bits of paint from the canvas…one layer at time. Enter the “Father of Prismatics.” A title he came to earn by his remarkable technique and ability to paint light into the canvas. Jurisich recalls back to that moment now, almost 41 years ago, and says, “I just had a revelation at that moment, that I was going to be a painter.” He went on to sell his first piece to Rosemary Clooney and her estate.
Jurisich continued to learn and perfect his technique for years to follow, all while keeping copious notes in a journal he could refer back to, and within it he included certain techniques that he used, his thoughts, feelings, and even artistic mistakes. “This is how I learned to paint,” says Jurisich. Even though he sometimes strayed from his original technique, Jurisich notes that he always went back to the original method he discovered the first day.
Inspired by some of the greats such as Monet, Van Gogh, Matisse, Pollock and Kline, among others, Jurisich says that he also finds inspiration in his own gallery. Upon viewing his gallery, it seems as though there are works of art by several artists, but instead, they are all Jurisich’s. He states that he can’t duplicate his own work because, “I paint what I feel.” He is overcome by the desire to create and believes, “The minute you stop wanting to give your work to the world, you’ve stopped growing.”
When observing Jurisich’s works, you instantly see that the colors appear to shine, even without any light hitting the canvas. It is as though light has been built into the painting. And for anyone who knows Jurisich, they would all agree that the light you see shining through the canvas is the tell-tale sign that he’s been there. Jurisich adds, “You have to get into the painting to view it, and you will see me on the other side.”
Jurisich – who can light up any room with his artwork, as well as his personality – is always willing to give tours of his gallery and share a little quality time to show visitors his technique. He just finished his new series, which is a little softer and has more of a Monet-like feel, called, “Welcome to the World I Live In.” Jurisich is excited about sharing this new series and says, “I feel that every painting I do is meant for someone out there. I have something to give to the world that the world needs.”
For more information, visit picasaweb.google.com/fatherofprismatics.