John Ewing Art
Celebrate John Ewing art work, one of our Texas artists from our Texas art online gallery. Currently residing in New Zealand, this former Walt Disney animator delights the eyes and imaginations of those who view his powerful Easter One bronze sculpture and whimsical western themed animation drawings.
John Ewing Art Bio:
As a young man, John Ewing took his first step into sculpture by working in a dental laboratory learning to make dentures. This work involved shaping and molding wax and plaster in various patterns as required. It was highly tactile, and he enjoyed it immensely. On the side he passed the time by making three dimensional figures representing the local football team.
He also loved drawing and, since drawing was “less exotic” and more attainable than sculpture, he leaned in that direction – going to art school after being discharged from the Navy. When he completed his schooling the teachers encouraged him to consider the Disney Studios in California, working in cartoon animation. He joined that organization and worked there for eleven years.
“Animators face continuous drawing challenges daily”, says John, “whether learning a new character or pinning down the right pose. These challenges are always rooted in making strong poses of human anatomy, notwithstanding that the human anatomy is then applied to Disney’s version of animals. So I had to learn to draw anatomy correctly. But I enjoyed it.”
“As animators we knew that each of our drawings would be on the screen for one-twelfth of a second at most, so more importantly than simply learning to draw the poses, it became vital that each pose be a strong pose, one that was immediately recognizable. We became concerned intuitively with getting the strongest possible pose, even to the point of distorting past the point of what was natural. I often added more twist to the body, or stretched the neck, or lifted a leg – anything to make the pose broader. This, I believe served me well when I turned to sculpture. It is rare that a normal, natural pose will have the interest and excitement that a distorted one will have. ‘Let there be a strangeness to the proportions’ is a fragment of a phrase taken, I was told, from ancient poetic writings, but sums up pretty clearly what I mean.”
On how he finally arrived in the sculpture arena and at ‘Easter One’ specifically: “Well, after Disney, my thoughts returned to three dimensional works. Sculpture is as intuitionally satisfying to the senses as drawing. And the visceral part of me was not yet ready to retire. An opportunity came my way when the foyer in my church was being renovated. The architect, who was a friend, pointed to a place where two passageways met and suggested that the intersection was perfect for a piece of sculpture. I didn’t have to ponder the question long before scrambling over a few chairs to get to my worktable. I was not unfamiliar with the crucifixion scene, having played it many times and with many variations in my mind. A Christian, any Christian, will have done that often, trying to grasp the awful significance of what was taking place and picturing it. So it was with me. Questions arose. The entire arrangement, seen as a whole, had to consist of an interesting and artful relationship between all the fundamental shapes, while the artist tried also to think of composition and design. It was a demanding yet exhilarating experience.
“And wouldn’t you agree that it is fascinating to reflect that one day – if there be such a thing as time in that day – I can discuss the whole affair with the principals to get their views? Joseph and Nicodemus, and of course, Jesus my Lord, will graciously, I am sure, excuse me my inaccuracies and shortcomings in art, knowing that as I worked on the piece I held them in the utmost respect and honor.”
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