Born in Chicago in 1988, John Kowalczyk currently lives and works in Milwaukee, WI as an artist who utilizes art as a vehicle towards a more equitable society. He received his BFA in painting from Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2010, and began a three year residency with RedLine Milwaukee soon after, where he curated gallery exhibitions and developed a passion for community art.

Since 2017, Kowalczyk has served as the Creative Collaboration Director with the non-profit organization Artists Working in Education where he oversees large scale community art projects working with artists, community stakeholders, and youth in Milwaukee. Kowalczyk founded the company Brick and Beauty in 2019 which produces custom visual art experiences and mural work. Kowalczyk’s work has been exhibited at the Sienna Art Institute in Italy, The Charles Allis Art Museum, The Museum of Wisconsin Art, Cedarburg Cultural Center, John Michael Kohler Art Center, and D.Varelli Gallery in Chicago along with other galleries across the U.S. Kowalczyk is represented by Scout Gallery in Milwaukee, WI.

Mediums: Paint, gel medium
Favorite Artist Tool: Scissors
Go-to Local Inspiration: My backyard
Mentee Compliment: Abbey’s paintings and textile pieces are gorgeous; she considers every detail and creates with immense craftsmanship. Abbey’s work is kind and warm just like her.
Fun Fact: I raise and release monarch butterflies every year, and love naming them after people in my family.
Serious Fact: I am a twin, my mother is a twin, her twin has twins, my twin has twins. I often make twin artworks and work in pairs.

Artist Statement

Shrine-like, shiny, symmetrical, and seductive figurations become maps of my mind, combining myth, math, and magic. Using painting, sculpture, printmaking, and installation as acts of defiance, I utilize a hybrid process without adhering to historical labels, while portraying an abstract society immersed in new media and pop culture. The visual energy in my work radiates like a viral video being viewed millions of times in minutes, influenced by old masters’ paintings, reality television, pop art, street art, mythology, my life experiences, and the general zeitgeist. The rhythm and bold figurations in the work create a dynamic dialog between art and pop culture. Lines between digital surrealism and analog reality are blurred. The integration of design, various paint applications, textiles, abstraction, and narrative expand the language of representation, and question visual and societal hierarchies.