Artist conjures new worlds through art

By Patrick Tindall
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Students viewing the Greco exhibit “Sacred Spaces, Secret Places: Conjurings of a Shaman,” located in the RCC art gallery, Sept 27. Patrick Tindall | Viewpoints

A fantastical homage to spirituality, nature and the deepest corners of one’s mind: “Sacred Spaces, Secret Places: Conjurings of a Shaman” by John Greco is an exploration of human existence through screen-printed imagery.

Greco is a master screen-printer who graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Slippery Rock University as well as a Master of Fine Arts in printmaking from Kent State University.

His work features human figures as celestial beings interacting with the world around them. His paintings have been showcased in the United States as well as abroad. His art has an ethereal, even tribal quality, reminiscent of ancient cave paintings from millennia ago.

His inspiration stems from his fascination with the human condition, often showcasing themes of love, sex, dreams, space and time.

Students, teachers and art lovers all converged at the Riverside City College art gallery on Oct. 4 to view his collection.

“When it comes to creating (art),” he said. “You make it for yourself but always try to convey some meaning.”

According to Greco, art is supposed to make you feel vulnerable, citing the nudity and vulnerability in his figures.

“I always feel exposed,” he said. “That is just part of being an artist.”

From paintings and sketches to his full-sized screen-prints his work can be seen as sort of an extention of his inner voice. Whether that voice is benevolent or malevolent is perhaps up to the viewer.

His technique is unique as well, “a lot of these are painted left-handed,” he said while gesturing at a cluster of uniquely colored paintings.

Students and art lovers viewing the exhibit have had some very excited reactions.

“Dark and brooding,” Riverside City College student, Desiree Cervantes said, “with very expressive colors.”

“It definitely makes me want to know more about him.” student Sylvia Newman said.

Greco now resides in Santa Monica where he runs Josephine Press, a printmaking studio, where he helps other artists to explore their talents.

Greco’s intimate figures and fantasy-driven landscapes explore the depths of human consciousness and emotion while evoking the audience’s deepest imagination.

The exhibit “Sacred Spaces, Secret Places” runs from Sept. 25 to Nov. 30 at Riverside City College in the RCC art gallery.