Artist John Svenson has lived and painted in Southeast Alaska for more than two decades. As a mountain guide and climber, Svenson is known for his unique translation of the mountain image through watercolor. Having viewed his climbing adventures as data collecting processes, he has found that these excursions are essential to the development of his artistic expression.
“In an artistic sense, painting and climbing have many similarities-the primary difference being that a miscalculation in the mountains could result in one’s death. In both fields the application of knowledge and skill is focused to achieve a precise and successful end.”
R. Bruce Duncan, president of the Chicago Art Association, has written, “Svenson’s whimsical figures remind one of Lautrec. They have a serious side as they come to grips with nature-much like Daumier’s satirical masterpieces. Yet he has left the main trail and developed his own form of artistic expression, particularly in experiments with color and texture.”
Svenson’s foundation in painting is strongly influenced by the California Watercolor Group, artists originating in the 1920s who gave the traditional watercolor medium a bold new look. This new representational art was defined by a fluid approach, broad brush strokes and strong rich colors.
Having summited Mt. McKinley 12 times as a guide John has been phasing himself out of “trade route” commercialism and focusing on adventures into more obscure and remote settings.
These climbing and painting adventures have led Svenson to Africa, South America, Nepal, Mongolia, and Indonesia. Recently, he has guided Japanese extreme skier Yoshimasa Wada for descents of the Equatorial Peaks. John has had shows of his watercolors at the Kyocera Peaks Contax Salon in Tokyo and the Mona Lisa Gallery in Sapporo.