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  Artist’s Notes

 I am excited about this new serigraph edition. It captures my love of the circus and the inner creative source of our lives. The theme of this art work, JESTER, developed from my earlier drawings and paintings of the Dream of Jacob. I wanted to give the feelings of dreams and imagination a visual form, apart from a traditional representation of the Dream of Jacob. I wanted to include in this the spiritual theme of the fool or jester, which is seen in many traditions. It reflects on the scriptural passage "God has chosen what the world holds foolish so as to embarrass the wise. "

This serigraph is based on my watercolor painting of 1989. To interpret and develop further this image I have used special techniques which I have incorporated into my silk screen printing. The techniques of stippling and spattering give the serigraph a sense of pointilism. Spattering leaves random dots that help in gradations and shading. Stippling gives definition and decoration, and helps me to refine the image further. The layering of glazes of transparent colors gives depth and shading which is different from the 1989 watercolor. The colors are richer and there are more decorative patterns. I have added to the original image a border or window frame which continues the theme of the night sky. In this border I have drawn many performers from the circus in the form of imaginary new constellations.

The late-nineteenth century French painted Georges Seurat developed the technique of pointilism. I have used his technique by my use of many dots of vibrant colors which allows each bit of pigment to be appreciated. Seurat also liked the circus as a subject of his paintings.

John August Swanson October 2000


The ‘sacred journey’ has origins in prehistoric religious cultures and myths. Man instinctively regards himself as a wanderer and wayfarer, and it is second nature for him to go on pilgrimage in search of a privileged and holy place, a center and source of indefectible life. This hope is built into his psychology, and whether he acts it out or simply dreams it, his heart seeks to return to a mythical source, a place of ‘origin,’ the ‘home’ where the ancestors came from, the mountain where the ancient fathers were in direct communication with heaven, the place of the creation of the world, paradise itself, with its sacred tree of life.
[cf. Mircea Eliade. Myths, Dreams and Mysteries, 1960.]


Image Documentation 

This original, hand-printed serigraph became available February 15, 2001. It was published by the artist with the collaboration of master printer James F. Butterfield II at Aurora Serigraphics Studio, Van Nuys, California.

Edition Size: 220

Dimensions: Image: 26¾" x 20¾"
                 Paper: 35" x 29"
Paper: Lana Classic, 100% cotton rag,
acid free, mouldmade in France,
300 gm/m²

Colors: 35 colors printed
Price: $700.00



John August Swanson October 2000

Copyright © 2017 John August Swanson