21 November 2016

John McAlllister
John McAllister: How a Former Museum Night Guard Has Become the Toast of the Art World – and the Talk of Miami

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John McAllister on Architectural Digest

How a Former Museum Night Guard Has Become the Toast of the Art World – and the Talk of Miami

Text by Vicky Lowry, Photography by Christopher Churchill

Posted on 21 November 2016

 

John McAllister studied photojournalism in college, but you’d never know it from his paintings—radiant works featuring fantastical flowers and patterns in sun-drenched hues. “I can’t remember a time in my life I wasn’t painting, but I had this idea that you couldn’t be taught to paint,” he recalls thinking as an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin. “Then I realized I was missing out by not studying it. I also realized I was a terrible photographer.” While his early pieces relied on real-life events (fires, for instance), McAllister soon found even more captivating inspiration in the early-modernist still lifes and landscapes he admired in museums—especially New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where, as a night guard from 2000 to 2004, after college, he had plenty of time to look at masterpieces. His favorite works, by Post-Impressionists such as Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse, and Édouard Vuillard, captured “frivolity, hedonism, and pleasure,” he explains. “Instead of making pretty pictures about something serious, I realized I could be serious about making pretty pictures.” 

 

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