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John Frank 



To be posted...



by Jaylynn Melendez


What Art Means: Through the Eyes of John Frank


In High Falls, New York, a view from a large glass window overlooks a spacious front yard and the mountain tops. This is where artist and former SUNY New Paltz professor John Frank lives with his wife Kathi Robinson Frank, who is also an artist. Their walls are decorated with each other’s paintings and a Buddha statue sits on the ground, facing the entrance. A few feet away from the living area is John’s studio. The studio is surrounded with sunlight and his past paintings. From the time he was 17 years old, John knew that art was something he would always be doing. He left his hometown of Kentucky and traveled to New York City, where his journey began. John is one of the featured artists in the “Golden Age of New Paltz” show in Wired Gallery.

How was your experience growing up as an artist?

I always knew I was going to be an artist. Growing up, I just grew into it.

At what age did you realize, “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life?”

Maybe about 17.

Where did you grow up?


How does art culture differ in Kentucky from New York?

It’s not the kind of art that people liked in New York City, for instance. Much more practical minded, I think, in Kentucky. New York was more artistic and open.

What environments have inspired you the most?

I spent a total of about three and a half years in India. That really shaped a lot of my work.

What inspired you in India?

The work. The art there. It’s amazing.

What made you fall in love with the art there?

The seriousness of it. It deals with the human spirit inside of the person.

How has the seriousness of art in India contribute to your art, specifically?

It has to do with what I believe in. I believe in Buddhism.

How is Buddhism represented in your work?

Well, I think you have to look at it to tell.

How has your art played a role within how you view the world?

I think that being involved in Buddhism has had a profound effect on me and my work.

If there is one message you can give to anyone who is seeing your work, what would you tell them?

Just to look and enjoy what they see.

How do you feel about the Golden Age of New Paltz show at the Wired Gallery?

I think it’s a good thing. I think we’re all very good artist and we need to be seen.

What did you teach during your time in SUNY New Paltz?

Drawing and Painting. From 1961 to the 90s.

How has teaching art affected you?

Well, primarily the students and their learning about art. Which was important to all of us.

As a former professor, how do you believe teaching art has changed?

There’s a difference in students, so there is difference in the teaching as well.

Why do you believe there is a difference in the students?

The art world itself changes. What people consider art is very different now than it was then.


In your opinion, how has the art world changed?

I think pop art has changed a lot and I don’t think it’s for good. I think abstract expression was a very imprint movement in our world, and nothing has come out afterward with that intensity.

With the art world changing that drastically, how do you feel about social media being an outlet for artist to show their work?

You really can’t see the work unless you see it on the canvas or however the artist wants to present.

How do you feel about non-artist contributing art into their everyday lives?

I think it would be nice if they did, but I don’t think that they do. It’s too hard.

Have you ever wanted to stop?

Being an artist is a way of life. Not just simply making art.

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