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John Walker: Cigar Art Boxes

Winged Skeleton in Viridian

Series & Process

Years ago I inherited a bunch of old porcelain color mixing dishes from my father who worked as a photo retoucher. They became the canvas for these new experimental pieces which are a spin off using elements from my reliquary series. In the center of the dish is an acrylic painting covered with resin. When I finished the first one I realized I had no easy way to hang it for display. My solution was to create a holder of sorts using polymer clay. I sculpted a rose to sit at the top of the dish and let the stems flow around the sides to cradle and hold it. I epoxied the dish to the base, added some wire tendrils, and a chain so it could be hung on the wall. With the next piece I decided to incorporate the clay from the start molding the dish into a clay base and looping rose stems around the lip of the dish to secure it. 

With this piece I’ve gone another step down the road molding the dish into a clay base above the bust of a small figure whose antlers wrap around and over the dish. As I complete a painting pass I pour a new layer of resin and then tuck the work into a vintage cigar box to keep dirt out. The clay is painted with various acrylic paints and I’ll often alternate between metallic, semi-opaque and transparent glazes to achieve the look I’m after. I’ve combined dimensional objects with paint to create insets for my reliquary work. Here I used acetate, painted and then cut to size for the skeleton’s wings. I plan to do more of that type of thing combining dimensional pieces with painting in the future.


John Walker has been working as a professional artist for over thirty years. After graduating from The American Academy of Art he began a career in illustration, creating a wide array of artwork for clients nationwide, including McDonalds, Random House and National Geographic. Acrylics became his media of choice during this time and he has become fluent in their application. His focus has now shifted to painting and exhibiting personal works which have been awarded honors in numerous exhibitions. He was named a finalist in Artist Magazine's annual competition in 2012 for his painting “Rose.” In 2013, “The Fisherman's Wife,” was named Best of Show in the Richeson 75 International Portrait and Figure competition. His painting, “Ginni Moon Prepares for Takeoff,” was recognized with the National Society of Painters in Casein and Acrylic Award, at the NSPC&A’s 59th annual exhibition in NY in 2013, and he was a juried participant in 2014 with the painting, “So Alice Went Through the Looking-Glass Again.” Acrylic Artist magazine featured his work alongside their interview in “Mining the Imagination”, Fall 2014. “VooDoo Steps Out,” was selected for inclusion in North Light Books compendium, AcrylicWorks: The Best of Acrylic Painting, “Winter Contemplation,” was juried into the second edition, AcrylicWorks 2: Radical Breakthroughs, and “Avian Communication in the Apocalyptic Mind” and “The Arrival” were selected for the third edition out in spring 2016. He is currently working on a series of faux antiquities created around an imagined, narrative framework.