Great Thinkers Mural "I couldn't stand it when people called me 'el pintor' -the painter. For that matter, I still can't stand getting paint on my hands." - John Rivera-Resto, on being an artist

THE MURALS


          John Rivera-Resto is a world-class artist, considered by many as one of the top-ten muralists in the United States. To date, John has completed twenty-six exterior murals, and over one hundred and fifty interior wall paintings. Smaller canvases far exceed that number. The subjects, themes, mediums and surfaces have been unique to each commission. They range from pictorial landscapes, renaissance-style extravaganzas, to nudes done on ceilings. The painting styles, determined by design or by request, have changed back-and-forth from the academic to impressionistic and to the surreal. Walls in temples, schools, and public buildings have been his largest canvases. However, most of his best pieces are kept hidden within the homes and private retreats of intimate clients.


Mural de Lijas (eastern section).
Acrylics on smooth concrete
Street Sense set mural (detail).
Acrylics on plaster and cloth
Street Sense set mural (detail).
Acrylics on plaster and cloth

          Considering painting to be only a transitional facet of his life (his true aspirations were in the theatre), John never bothered to sign most of his early works. But his skills were so well known, that public identification was never in question. Another unfortunate oversight was that he kept no photographic records. Except for the very recent, all of his exterior murals, particularly those done in the tropics, have faded away to the elements. The loss of so many of his mural paintings has never troubled the artist for he feels that he can always paint a better one.


Panorama World Travel mural,
the Orient section.
Acrylics on plaster
Panorama World Travel mural,
the South Pacific & Australia section.
Acrylics on plaster
Panorama World Travel mural (detail).
Acrylics on plaster

          A more thoughtful explanation to this unconcerned attitude could possibly be that John shared no interest for many of the subjects he was commissioned to paint. And, considering that his clients come from all walks of life and from multicultural backgrounds, it becomes increasingly difficult for an artist to limit his art to the type of subjects he would have preferred to do. One must also keep in mind that, in spite of his incredible output at a muralist, mural painting is only a small part of what he does. He still writes, acts, directs, teaches, designs, travel, does research and lectures -and this does not include his other non-artistic interests and pursuits!


Panorama World Travel mural (detail).
Acrylics on plaster
Panorama World Travel mural (detail).
Acrylics on plaster
Panorama World Travel mural (detail).
Acrylics on plaster

          The range and disparity of themes in John's work brings a beneficial side effect to such an inquisitive artist, being that, whatever the subject matter may be, he will perform diligent research on the background and individual histories of each subject. He insists in learning every possible detail on everything he renders in his paintings. He is perhaps one of the most knowledgeable artist in the business.


Panorama World Travel mural (detail).
Acrylics on plaster
Panorama World Travel mural (detail).
Acrylics on plaster
Panorama World Travel mural (detail).
Acrylics on plaster

          When asked what type of mural commissions he favours, John answers: "anything that requires extensive historical research or travel". Narratives and people are his preferred subjects, and painting large murals that display a sense of spectacle, is his forte. The grand, the lavish and the dramatic have always attracted him. It is in this arena that his taste for history, antiquity, fashion and the theatre, come into play. This type of mural painting is the most admired and the most rare. Few clients have the vision, the patience and the financial resources to engage an artist in a project that requires such an expenditure of time and effort.


Mural history of the people of Puerto Rico.
(unfinished original). Acrylics on brick
A piece of the puzzle (collaborative project).
Acrylics and ceramic tiles on brick
The CMHA building mural.
Acrylics on concrete

          Most of the pictures on this page have been provided by clients, for which we are grateful. Until recent years, John never kept photographic record of his paintings. These images are only a sampling that span forty years of work. For all the works done during the last decade, visit the 'Current Works' link. Note that murals done in enclosed spaces are extremely difficult to light and to photograph. Others can only be filmed in sections. Unfortunately, many notable works could not be satisfactorily photographed and are now lost to time.


Moose Head Saloon.
Acrylics on canvased wall
Moose Head Saloon (detail).
Acrylics on canvased wall
LazerXtreme (main mural).
Acrylics on drywall
Jonathan's room (detail).
Acrylics on drywall

          To enlarge the pictures, simply click on the thumbnails. Along with an enlarge image, details of the work are included. These images will only give you an idea of what the mural paintings look like and the extent of John's amazing artistic range. True colour and details are lost in these low-resolution reproductions. The magic, the brilliance, the magnitude and sheer splendour of murals can only be enjoyed and appreciated on site.


Thinker's Coffeehouse mural (detail).
Oils on canvas panels
Thinker's Coffeehouse mural (detail).
Oils on canvas panels
Thinker's Coffeehouse mural (detail).
Oils on canvas panels

          Fastidious attention to detail, wonderful modelling of the paint and controlled use of colour and a fresh sense of humour are trademarks of John's art. Some murals he has painted in a matter of days, others take months, one took a year. Others, like his witty satirical mural for the play "Reindeer Monologues", were painted as part of a set design to be painted over after a play's completion.


Thinker's Coffeehouse mural (detail).
Oils on canvas panels
Thinker's Coffeehouse mural (detail).
Oils on canvas panels
Thinker's Coffeehouse mural (detail).
Oils on canvas panels

          But regardless of the demands of time, his personal preferences in subject matter, or the complexities of any given project, John's energy and dedication are remarkable. These qualities are enough to make an artist a great artist. But in John Rivera-Resto, it is his generosity and genius to pass his artistic knowledge to others what makes him a master. John insists that the taxing art of mural painting is for the young. So while he is still at the heights of his creative power, he explores other forms of art and dedicates more time to teaching and lecturing. However, he will accept any mural commission that captures his interest.


Ringo Star and Katherine Deam
(underpaint detail).
Oils on canvas panel
Wilma Smith with Cary and Gary
(underpaint detail).
Oils on canvas panel
Russell Means lectures on
(underpaint detail).
Oils on canvas panel
Woody Allen doing the John Travolta
(underpaint detail).
Oils on canvas panel

          John Rivera-Resto has always kept close ties with the public. Nowadays, he not only signs his murals but also includes his e-mail address or telephone number so that people can call or write with their comments or questions. Since launching the Muralmaster site in 2003, John has answered several hundred e-mails from all over the world. Art students, art lovers or detractors are encouraged to write to him (preferably in English or Spanish, though French and Italian are also welcome). John's e-mail address is listed in the 'Contact' link. Some of your questions may appear on future updates.


The Reindeer Monologues set mural (detail).
Acrylics on plaster
Baur Auto Radiator Co. painted facade.
Acrylics on wood
ADPRO mural (detail).
Acrylics on plaster


To see John's latest murals:

--The Lewis Apartment Murals; The Italian Village Mural; The Gordon Square Theatre Mural; The Wolstein Château Wine Room Murals; The Waste Management Office Mural; The Anguish of Rama Mural; The Steven McQuillin and Associates Mural; The John Ban Mural; The Cuyahoga County Juvenile Justice Center Dome Mural, and other works--

click on the following link:

'Current Work'






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