In early February, John Down is on his way to Italy. The last time he exhibited his art in Europe was in 2009 at the Florence Biennale, where he sold one of the two works he was allotted even though he couldn’t attend the exhibition because he was totally debilitated by the toxic side effects of 911. At that time, Down’s art studio and business, Christopher Norman Chocolates, were located near the New York Stock Exchange and over the years after 911 John and his partner Joe Guiliano were victims of the fallout. Though Down was invited to participate in the Biennale in 2011 and 2013 he couldn’t attend because illness.
By 2014 Down and Guiliano had to close their New York City business, pack up home, art studio and retail location, to relocate in Halfmoon Bay in an effort to reclaim their health. Over the years since re-establishing on the Coast, they have reclaimed their health, renewed their chocolate business, and started to participate in the art world again.
Recently, Down received an invitation from Venice to exhibit in a show, INLQUID GROUP’s “Body of Language” that will run from Feb. 13 to March 12, where his works from the Plein Air Series will be shown to an international audience. After the perils of recovering from 911, this time Down will get to travel with his work to Italy.
His Plein Air paintings are created in an outdoor studio. Down says, “I am inspired by the natural and supernatural dynamic of the living ecosystem around me, and I have been painting behind my house, interfacing with the forest and the rock bluffs, in an open-air space without walls. I am enjoying the physicality of my surroundings; and am finding myself influenced by the elements and phenomena around me – all contributing to the sensory exhilaration that excites me to make art. I will enjoy sharing my art, inspired by Canada’s wilderness, to cosmopolitan Venice.”