John Ralston

Born in: 1987, USA
Lives in: Baltimore, MD, USA
Education: Masters of Fine Art - Maryland Institute College of Art
Bachelors of Fine Art - Old Dominion University
Describe your art in 3 words: Unknowable Alien Topography
See More Work:

Janoxeh - Paint, Gypsum Powder, Resin - 14"x18"x4" - $2300

"This work accelerates and embellishes natural forms of accumulation and erosion. While it could be said that they are emulating nature, specific methods and materials are used to disrupt the relationship between our earth-bound perception and evoke the true synthetic characteristics within each piece. Jarring color changes and manic tooling are employed to convey alien topography while the reflective surface disrupts the immediate association to scenery that we collectively understand."

What themes does your current work involve?
Observation of the universe from the perspective of those that have mastered it. Pursuing an inscrutable non-object. Omnipresence. Space and Time.
Describe your creative process.
The work I make is in a constant state of generation. I am continually beginning new work simultaneously with other pieces that have already undergone various stages of their development. There is an objective embedded within this, the constant experimentation allows for quick investigation to new ways to go about generating a specific aesthetic. The excess, leftover pieces and off-cuts are fed back into the new work. Colors are recycled into new blends to be a part of reimagined characteristics within the next group. Work that is in the middle of manipulation is reimplanted or stored for work in the future. I Introduce chemicals and forces that edit the drying process. The materials are substances are derived from what I interact with regularly in my work as a historic home renovation professional.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I almost exclusively read science fiction these days. I am stuck imagining a reality among the stars. I am hopeful for humanity’s future and reference the success of our species on this planet as evidence of our bright future off the earth. This generation is one of the last that will remain here in its entirety. Soon we will change our bodies to live within the vacuum of space and set off to experience a civilization without time and place, withheld by nothing. To spread our influence into the passage of infinity, and become one with eternity.
What are your goals and plans as an artist in 2023?
I am hoping to exhibit more of my newest pieces that I debuted in January of this year. I am also planning to develop a better process for documenting my work so that I have more control of the images I am using to present the most important attributes of each piece. Surface and sheen have so much influence in how these pieces are viewed, it is difficult to capture the true essence of the in person viewing experience. This year I am hoping to make the investment in the equipment and begin the training that will be necessary to further my ability to effectively document this work.
How do recent advancements in technology affect your art practice? How may recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (image generator software) affect the definition of fine art?
I have been aware of this question since well before AI. When I was in college the subject was how 3d printing was going to change the way art is made. I think anyone who attempts to interact with these technologies is quickly adapted to the cookie cutter things they create and the obvious boundaries at the edges of the tool’s capability. It’s a tool like any other. Some people will use it in very novel and interesting ways but it will quickly become over saturated with sameness and artists and viewers will move on to the next thing that interests them the most. I feel at this point in my career, I am looking for way to hone what I already know into deeper and higher quality work rather than incorporate the latest creative phenomenon.
What is the role of the artist today?
I feel that artists today have to embrace the pervasive technology that is constantly changing the environment where they can get exposure and opportunity. Adapting the content you make to the packaging it requires to be noticed has become as complicated as making the art itself. I myself, still have a lot of work to do in this regard and it would probably be the best place for me to start if I want to get better results.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
There is something within abstraction when methods and materials align in a composition that scratches an itch we all have. Great art envelopes nuance that is immediately new and exciting. There are works in all genres and themes that seem to achieve this while others don’t. To me it’s something I know immediately when I see it. Collectively we have all sought to further add complexity to what art and installation are, still there are universal truths that remain despite this necessity to evolve. Even if something looks bad it needs to have a reason for being that way and it should be represented immediately upon experiencing the work. I tend to gravitate towards art that presents me with evidence of workmanship mastery and labor.
Vaeldous - Paint, Gypsum Powder, Resin - 12"x15"x4" - $1800
Xuzh - Paint, Gypsum Powder, Resin - 9"x9"x5" - $1100
Keinough - Paint, Gypsum Powder, Resin - 16"x20"x5" - $2300
D'Carron Voy - Paint, Gypsum Powder, Resin - 15"x23"x4" - $4000


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist

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