ARTIST STATEMENT

John Smalls, a colorblind, creative artist and designer, produces art to represent the diversity and color of life, laying bare his encounters with everyday people on canvas and bringing value through his art to those who are undervalued, shedding light on people who are often ignored or perceived narrowly.

BIOGRAPHY

John Smalls is an artist and designer working and living in Harlem, New York. He is well known for creating graphic designs and illustrations for major apparel brands and the mixed martial arts community. For over fifteen years, John has worked in the areas of art and design, serving as an art director, product designer and illustrator. His work has been exhibited in galleries all over the United States and his limited edition prints and sports apparel are widely collected and in-demand. He is a dedicated artist who is continuously exploring the foundations of art while also innovating and seeking out new creative challenges and techniques.

Originally a native of Philadelphia – though early travels also offered him the opportunity to call several states home – Mr. Smalls is in many ways the “physical embodiment of raw urban artistic talent in its purest form”. At an early age, he embraced his innermost creativity and drive and allowed his artistic vision to flow freely. John has lived and traveled throughout the world, allowing him the opportunity to meet and grow with people of vast cultures and races; the perspective this fosters within him becomes more evident in the diversity found within his artistic expressions. After traveling the globe and cultivating a worldly and emotive style, Mr. Smalls has returned to the East Coast to New York City, though his art transcends locale. For Mr. Smalls, art is more than a mere means of earning a living but is instead a medium to express life – a life filled with the very mortal experiences of pain, love, life, death, hope and redemption. Mr. Smalls channels these shared experiences and emotions to paint a picture of the humanity of those we often overlook.

His work has been exhibited in galleries all over the United States and his limited edition prints and sports apparel are widely collected and in-demand. He is a dedicated artist who is continuously exploring the foundations of art while also innovating and seeking out new creative challenges and techniques.

SOLO AND GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2014  Journey through Jiu Jitsu, Space Gallery, Long Island City, NY
2007  Visual Slang: The Modern Urban Imagination, Abrons Arts Center, New York, NY
2006  Touch and Feel: Messin’ with the high and low, Red Saw Gallery, Newark, NJ
2006  Enough is Enough, Weston Hall Gallery at the New Jersey School of Architecture, Newark, NJ
2005  Expectations, The Paul Robeson Cultural Center Rutgers University, New Jersey
2005  Arthouse Highland Park Arts Festival, New Brunswick, NJ
2004  Hip Hop Political Convention Art and Resistance Show, Newark, NJ
2004  San Antonio Cultural Arts Huevos Rancheros Gala, San Antonio, TX
2001  Films on I.C.E. Preview 2 San Antonio, TX
2001  Black Out (A Groove Essential Production), Austin, TX
2001  Beat Kitchen Festival of Hip Hop at Bruno’s Art Space, San Antonio, TX
2001  SA Town Poetry Slam, San Antonio, TX
2001  First Friday Art Exhibition at the Ellis Bean Art Space, San Antonio, TX
2001  3rd Annual Mad Media Manifesto Exhibition San Antonio, TX
2000  Eye Con and Will Exhibition at the Art Asylum San Antonio, TX