John Brendan Guinan is an American contemporary artist. He was born at home in the Logan Circle neighborhood of inner city Washington, D.C. above the homeless shelter and soup kitchen founded and run by his parents. His father, a former Catholic Priest and well known activist, author, and lecturer, J. Edward Guinan (dec. 2015), was a stalwart in the social justice movement and founder of Community for Creative Non-violence. The untrained artist's first show was a solo in New York at Artery Gallery in honor of his father, titled "The Art of Mourning". His oeuvre is inspired by his childhood, literature, as well as elements of his Catholic upbringing. In the words of artist Barnett Newman, "Instead of making cathedrals out of Christ, man, or "life," we are making [them] out of ourselves, out of our own feelings." Guinan has been called an "artist priest" and a "conduit for the transcendent". In his own words, "Artists are the agents of the heavens. Our job is to do the bidding of the immaterial”. The artist has exhibited in solos and group shows in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Miami at Art Basel. His work has been auctioned off at Sotheby's in NYC, alongside pieces by Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha, Yoko Ono, Mark Grotjahn, Shepard Fairey, and Urs Fischer among others. Academy Award Winning Fine Films Company is currently shooting a documentary on his story and art career called ‘Why I Paint’.
American, b. 1981, Washington, D.C.
My work is influenced by my childhood, literature, as well elements of my Catholic upbringing. My father was formerly a Catholic Priest. He was also a writer and philosopher. Both him and my mother were social justice activists. Since I was a boy, I always wanted to be like them. I wanted to think big things, and write poetry, and paint big engulfing paintings. I believe that art can and should be sincere and cathartic. I started painting with no intention of becoming a "professional artist" but rather to heal and connect with my father. I am a process based painter. I'm interested in reconciling my emotions through the physical process of painting. I'm also interested in reconnecting with the sincerity and earnestness of childhood through my work. I want to be tactile and egoless when I'm working. My reward is a form of personal reconciliation. I work until the mess I make with color, texture and collage becomes whole.