Science and spirituality blend with art as local artist, and former Gazette illustrator, John Paul Schafer kicks off Kirkwood’s 2013 spring art exhibit season. Schafer’s display, “Lost & Found: New Works by John Paul Schafer,” includes oil on canvas paintings, small abstract drawings and a few sculptural works, focusing on his recent interests in higher consciousness and quantum and theoretical physics.
The exhibit is showing in Kirkwood’s Iowa Hall Art Gallery, January 14-February 8. Schafer, a full-time artist with 22 years experience in studio painting, illustration and graphic design, said the focus of the exhibit centers on his interest in physics and spirituality that started a few years ago.
“Studying quantum and theoretical physics has become a hobby of mine,” said Schafer. “I have a basic understanding of what’s being described conceptually, and you can see waves and particles in my works, as well as an expression of time and space.
“Most of our human experiences in life seem random and sometimes chaotic, which makes it difficult for some to accept that there is an order to the world. I attempt to reflect this in my paintings, which are spontaneous expressions that reveal patterns and harmonies that surprise even me when I'm working on them.”
Schafer specializes in producing large-scale, site-specific artworks for public spaces like museums, libraries and hospital lobbies. He was a newsroom illustrator at The Cedar Rapids Gazette for eight years and before that worked as an art director for Alpha International, a toy company in Cedar Rapids.
Schafer does not have a degree in visual arts. He went to college to study teaching, but decided to pursue his art studies independently.
“I’ve been drawing and painting since I was a kid,” said Schafer. “Everyone told me I’d be an artist. I went away from that idea, but came back knowing that it’s my true passion.”
Schafer’s work can be seen at schools, hospitals and other public buildings around eastern Iowa.The Iowa Hall Gallery is free and open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 1-2 p.m., and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 2-5 p.m.