John Karl Claes
California native John Karl Claes’ landscapes enthrall his viewers, drawing them in with the endless horizons, geometric compositions, and vivid, unexpected colors. Upon his return to the San Joaquin Valley after attending school on the East Coast, Claes found the inspiration he had been searching for – the overwhelming openness of the Central Californian agricultural fields. Not long thereafter, Claes began taking trips around the area in his friend’s tiny agricultural plane, finally discovering the vantage point from which to capture the true endlessness the found so inspirational.
Painting only from memory and small, rapidly-drawn sketches, Claes brings his landscapes to life with sky-high perspectives and rich, saturated colors that surprise the viewer with how natural the intense hues feel in the context of a peaceful landscape. Claes’ paintings evoke an almost-surreal sense of wonder at how such open, never-ending spaces can be captured within the confines of a painting.
Born and raised in California’s San Joaquin Valley, Claes completed a B.A. in Studio Art from California State University, Stanislaus, and went on to receive a M.F.A. in painting and drawing from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Claes has received numerous awards, both regionally and nationally, and has shown his paintings and drawings regularly in many solo and group shows and exhibitions. He currently lives with his wife and two sons in California’s Central Valley where he also maintains his studio.