Art of John August Swanson

JOHN AUGUST SWANSON makes his home in Los Angeles, California, where he was born in 1938. He paints in oil, watercolor, acrylic and mixed media, and is an independent printmaker of limited edition serigraphs, lithographs and etchings.His art reflects the strong heritage of story telling he inherited from his Mexican mother and Swedish father. John Swanson’s narrative is direct and easily understood. He addresses himself to human values, cultural roots, and his quest for self-discovery through visual images. These include Bible stories and social celebrations such as attending the circus, the concert, and the opera. He also tells of everyday existence, of city and country walks, of visits to the library, the train station or the schoolroom. All his parables optimistically embrace life and one’s spiritual transformation. John Swanson studied with Corita Kent at Immaculate Heart College. His unique style is influenced by the imagery of Islamic and medieval miniatures, Russian iconography, the color of Latin American folk art, and the tradition of Mexican muralists. See all of his work at www.johnaugustswanson.com

The Last Supper -John August Swanson

-artist notes “I am inspired by a person’s ability to share food with others and the community that grows from this sharing. I see, in the Last Supper, a scene in which the sacred embraces the ordinary. Our daily bread becomes holy when it is shared. The fruit of our labor becomes the fruit of the Spirit when it is shared.” Buy Serigraph
Last Supper- John August Swanson
Last Supper- John August Swanson


 Epiphany -John August Swanson

Epiphany -John August Swanson
Epiphany -John August Swanson

The Presentation in the Temple -John August Swanson

-artist notes “Mary and Joseph take the child Jesus to the temple with the offering of two doves. This was the offering of the poorest. It was a symbol of thanksgiving for their firstborn. At the entrance they meet Simeon and
Anna who are both old and waiting and praying in the temple. They both approach the family and honor the new born Jesus.” Buy Serigraph
The Presentation in the Temple- John August Swanson
The Presentation in the Temple- John August Swanson


Flight into Egypt -John August Swanson

-artist notes “The lonely flight of the Holy Family is depicted visually by the exact layering of transparent colors and drawings, creating a myriad of fine details and rich colors. FLIGHT INTO EGYPT, a vertical-panorama, engages the viewer with the Holy Family’s escape to Egypt under a massive star filled sky and within a complex landscape, where many events are occurring and are realized in great detail.” Buy Serigraph

Flight into Egypt- by John August Swanson
Flight into Egypt- by John August Swanson

 Good Samaritan -John August Swanson

-artist notes “I first did the GOOD SAMARITAN in 1970, as a crayon scrafitto. It was one of my first attempts at telling a story in pictures; a subject told in a three-panel narrative. Now, after 32 years, and thousands of hours of experimentation and experience in various workshops in London and Southern Califonia, I have returned to this early work, to make a new interpretation of this drawing and the basic narrative theme.” Buy Serigraph
The Good Samaritan- John August Swanson
The Good Samaritan- John August Swanson

 Loaves and Fishes -John August Swanson

“For many years I sketched, and tried to work out in my imagination, how the scene of the LOAVES AND FISHES, with its multitude of people, could be painted. I wanted this image to honor native peoples in many parts of the world; those who work the land for their livelihood, and have lived for generations in small communities or villages.” Buy Serigraph

Loaves and Fishes- John August Swanson
Loaves and Fishes- John August Swanson

 Psalm 85- John August Swanson

Psalm 85- John August Swanson
Psalm 85- John August Swanson


Take Away the Stone -John August Swanson

-artist notes “I created three paintings of the narrative THE RAISING OF LAZARUS from the Gospel of St. John. Before I began the paintings, I explored many types of drawing from 1989 to 1994. I used water colors, water media and acrylics for the paintings. TAKE AWAY THE STONE, the watercolor of 1993, was the painting I chose to develop into a serigraph limited edition. My preliminary work began in June 2005. I redrew and increased the size of the image from 18″ x 12″ to 30″x 20″. This drawing became the map to build and register the subsequent 57 colors printed. Each color required a separate drawn stencil.” Buy Serigraph
Take Away the Stone- John August Swanson
Take Away the Stone- John August Swanson

The Story of the Prodigal Son -John August Swanson

-artist notes “The parable of the Prodigal Son has inspired many artists, musicians, writers, and poets. The story has many levels for interpretation and insight into the human experience, especially family life and forgiveness. …This story has inspired me also, since 1968 when I began to make images.” Buy Serigraph

The Story of the Prodigal Son- John August Swanson
The Story of the Prodigal Son- John August Swanson

Psalm 23 -John August Swanson

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23 New International Version (NIV) Buy Serigraph

Psalm 23- John August Swanson
Psalm 23 – John August Swanson


 Story of Joseph -John August Swanson

Joseph had been given dreams of God’s plan for his life; so with confidence and strength, he endured in this amazing story in Genesis. The slave traders took him into Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, one of the Pharaoh’s officers. Read Genesis 37
Story of Joseph- John August Swanson
Story of Joseph- John August Swanson

Peaceable Kingdom -John August Swanson

Peaceable Kingdom- John August Swanson
Peaceable Kingdom -John August Swanson

 The Burial -John August Swanson

Joseph from Arimathea was one of Jesus’ disciples. He had kept it secret though, because he was afraid of the Jewish leaders. But now he asked Pilate to let him have Jesus’ body. Pilate gave him permission, and Joseph took it down from the cross.

Nicodemus also came with about seventy-five pounds of spices made from myrrh and aloes. This was the same Nicodemus who had visited Jesus one night. The two men wrapped the body in a linen cloth, together with the spices, which was how the Jewish people buried their dead. In the place where Jesus had been nailed to a cross, there was a garden with a tomb that had never been used. The tomb was nearby, and since it was the time to prepare for the Sabbath, they were in a hurry to put Jesus’ body there.  John 19:38-42 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

The Burial -John August Swanson
The Burial -John August Swanson

 

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