John Nieto, American contemporary artist, is influenced by bright and bold Southwestern colors and Fauvism, a Post-Impressionism movement led by Matisse.
“I’m in a trance when I paint. It’s like being a drummer—you don’t look at the drums, you just know intuitively where they are.”
John Nieto & his self portraits
Fauvism was a French movement that followed Impressionism. So called for the wild use of color and bold brush strokes Matisse, Marquet, and Rouault used that broke from the realistic representation of their predecessors. You can easily see this in Nieto’s work, who has had his art exhibited all over the world as part of the Art in Embassies Program. His subjects are painted with utmost respect and never given false ideals or representation.
“I paint native American themes so I can step back in time and shine some light on those people – that culture. Through my artwork, I hope to show their humanity and their dignity.”
While most of his art has a strong Native American presence, whatever the subject, you have but to look upon his art and feel the connection between the colors, his strong brush strokes, and the vitality of the people and animals he portrays. Their movement is a vivid splash of color against the contrasting background. He has produced bronze sculptures, silkscreen prints, etchings, and other mediums, but today mainly focuses on painting.
A vibrant interview with the world-renowned artist John Nieto
Smile & Sitting Bull
BREAKAWAY DAILY: You use a bold array of color in your work, pulling from the emotional connection of your subject matter. How do colors you use correspond to the emotions you feel from the project?
JOHN NIETO: There is no formula to it. The colors are an intuitive response to the subject I’m painting. As I go through the process I let the subject speak to me and the colors are my interpretation of what I’m seeing and hearing.
BREAKAWAY DAILY: Being emotionally connected to a project is a bit all-consuming. You’ve stated previously that when you paint, you’re in a trance. What do you feel when you finish a piece?
JOHN NIETO: I feel a personal feeling of fulfillment and contentment when I know a piece is finished.
On August 5, 1982, John Nieto met with President Reagan in the Oval Office and presented him with the painting “Delegate to the White House”. This painting hung in Washington for the duration of Reagan’s term in office and has been included in the presidential library.
BREAKAWAY DAILY: It’s nice to see a family so interconnected, working with each other. Anaya Nieto runs your website and online gallery as curator and you’ve previously worked with John A. Nieto, the photographer and your elder son. Each of them have an eye for art. Do you feel like your love of art rubbed off on them or did they find their own path?
JOHN NIETO: It’s not an either-or answer, it’s both. They both inherited and found their own way in to the art world. They both think very similarly in terms of their passion and interest in aesthetics. They aren’t confined to architecture or music or painting or to poetry but it’s a general aesthetic awareness and I think they were both born with it. And ironically enough, in equal amount. They’ve each ran with what they inherited and made it their own.
BREAKAWAY DAILY: Let’s talk about your current exhibit available in your online gallery. Tell me a little bit about what you currently have on display. Which ones hold the most meaning for you?
JOHN NIETO: All my finished paintings are like my children. When they leave my studio, they make their own way in to the world. I give each painting my best medicine before I know it’s finished.
BREAKAWAY DAILY: In the past, you’ve worked in a variety of mediums. Is there one that you haven’t worked in that you would like to?
JOHN NIETO: No. I have my hands full with paint and canvas.
Albert Einstein & Pablo Picasso
As we grow as artists our styles grow and we become more influenced by different things. Your work has been likened to German Expressionism and Fauvism most notably. What do you feel has influenced you as an artist in recent years?
JOHN NIETO: Integrity of producing valid art and somewhat more personal involvement.
There will always be aspiring artists out there because art is air; we can’t exist without it. What do you have to say to the aspiring artists of today?
JOHN NIETO: Inhale and exhale deeply. Find a subject that you can have a deep personal commitment to and give yourself to it completely, never waiver from it. Try to nurture that subject so that you can explore it fully.
Visit John Nieto’s gallery at NietoFineArt.com and see for yourself why he is a Breakaway Daily Award winner.
Immerse yourself in his world of acrylic on canvas; his work is an experience that cannot be missed.
The online gallery currently holds his following works:
Pueblo Kiva, Homage to Rodin I, Homage to Rodin II, Homage to Rodin III, Promenade, Fancy Dancer, Time to Ske – Daddle, Wind of Change, Prayer for the Return of Buffalo, and Acoma.
Want to win your very own Open Edition print by John Nieto?
Simply enter our contest powered by Rafflecopter! The more ways you enter, the better your chance of winning! Contest is open worldwide. The winner can choose whichever art print they want from the John Nieto Open Edition Gallery!
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By Jamee-Beth Livingston & Persephone Grey, Breakaway Daily