John Ferry’s paintings are inspired by his love of architecture and his love of paint. Though his paintings, Ferry has explored the urban architecture of the cities where he has lived, places like Decatur, IL, where he grew up, Kansas City, New York and Baltimore. In those works, the faded industrial energy of the 19th and early 20th city, with its history of decay and renewal, inspired Ferry’s vision.
Today, Ferry lives in a mid-century house and his inspiration comes from an exploration of the architecture of that time designed by architects looking to the future, Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer and others. This architecture, much of it of the suburb, is the foundation for his newest series of paintings. Mid-century architecture expresses the optimism, dreams and ideals of a particular time in American history, the mid-century mark, and provides a near perfect structure for Ferry to continue to explore his lived experience through color, texture, space and light.
John Ferry is currently an Associate Professor, Illustration, at the Kansas City Art Institute. Ferry has an MFA from the School of Visual Arts, NY, NY and a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute. His work is in the collection of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS; The Wichita Center for the Arts, KS; Hallmark Cards, Inc., Kansas City, MO; Federal Reserve Bank, Kansas City, MO; DST Systems, Kansas City, MO; American Century, Kansas City, MO and numerous others.
“For the past 20 years, my work has focused on documenting the various cities in which I’ve lived,…cities like Decatur, IL, where I was born, to Kansas City, New York and Baltimore. I use the citys’ architecture as a starting point to explore my vision as an urban industrial-scape painter.
My newest series of paintings are a tribute to my appreciation and love of mid-century modern architecture. I currently live in a mid-century modern home in Prairie Village, KS, our second “Drummond” built home. My father’s interest in Frank Lloyd Wright and the history and visual impact of his architecture, undoubtedly helped spawn my own interest. I grew up in a home directly in back of an original Frank Lloyd Wright designed home, #2 Millikin Place. There were three houses designed by Mr. Wright and his firm within this same block. My father used to give neighborhood tours and describe Wright’s Prairie Style influences. These homes provided a rich environment,…one I keep coming back to for inspiration and education. You’ll see in my recent series of paintings many versions of similar scenes that explore composition, drama, color, light and space. I’ve also included a couple of paintings of my grandfather Oscar Bardelmeier’s tools. He was an amazing craftsman and took great care of his supplies. I’ve tried to honor his craftsmanship with my execution.
I’ve been influenced by many artists and art movements. Starting with Richard Diebenkorn and the Bay Area Figurative Art group to Willem de Kooning and the Abstract Expressionists and most recently Charles Sheeler and the Precisionism movement.
As a painter I’m very interested in studying and reading about artists and art history. During my junior year of college, I was shown two paintings of scissors by Richard Diebenkorn. While I’ve been blessed to see the Sistine Chapel, Mona Lisa and La Grande Jatte, nothing has moved or inspired me like those scissors. I painted bad examples of scissors all day that day, but I was moved to paint. I’ve been searching for my “scissors” ever since. I believe I found them in my urban-scape paintings inspired by the architecture of the cities I’ve lived in.”
“Ferry’s works reveal the aesthetic beauty of the overlooked and forgotten urban environments and brilliantly portrays the cycle of change in our cities,” said Will Hipps, Art Museum and Gallery Director at Kennesaw State University.
John Ferry is a 50-year-old painter who resides in Prairie Village, KS with his wife and two daughters. Mr. Ferry is also a Professor in the Illustration Department at Kansas City Art Institute. John Ferry has been working as a professional painter for over 20 years. He has been represented by a variety of galleries including in the past by Jan Weiner Gallery, Kansas
City, MO, Dolphin Gallery, Kansas City, MO, Blue Gallery, Kansas City, MO and C. Grimaldis Gallery in Baltimore, MD. Ferry is currently represented by Sherry Leedy Gallery in Kansas City, MO. Mr. Ferry’s work is in corporate collections such as H & R Block, Sprint, Stowers Institute and Hallmark Cards, Inc. Ferry is also in the collections of The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and The Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. A Silver Medal winner from The Society of Illustrators Museum of American Illustration, Ferry’s work has been reviewed and featured in numerous magazine, book and newspaper publications.
Ferry has also been selected into juried exhibitions such as New American Paintings, International Painting Annual, (INPA), OPEN 15 and Wichita Center for the Arts, and from this competition Mr. Ferry won the Director’s Purchase Award. “Ferry’s works reveal the aesthetic beauty of the overlooked and forgotten urban
environments and brilliantly portrays the cycle of change in our cities,” said Will Hipps, Art Museum and Gallery Director at Kennesaw State University.
- Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO, Mid-Century Modern, 2019
- Blue Gallery, Kansas City, MO, “Exaggerated View of a Common Occurrence”, 2017
- Lawrence Art Center, Lawrence, KS. “Disintegration”, 2014
- Gladstone Community Center Public Art Space, Gladstone, MO, “Roots”, 2013
- Dolphin Gallery, Kansas City, MO, “Urban Industrial Themes”, 2010
- Department of Visual Arts presents It’s 2nd Biennial “Best of” Exhibition, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA, “Industrial Time-Line”, 2009
- Jan Weiner Gallery, Kansas City, MO, “Roam”, 2009
- Kehler Liddell Gallery, New Haven, CT, “Deconstruction & Resurrection”, 2008
- Anne Lloyd Gallery, Decatur, IL, “Revisited”, 2007
- Jan Weiner Gallery, Kansas City, MO, “Re-Form”, 2005
- Grimaldis Gallery, Baltimore, MD, “Construction”, 2003
- Jan Weiner Gallery at LuLa Mac, Kansas City, MO, “Architectural Planes”, 2003
- Jan Weiner Gallery, Kansas City, MO, “Industrial Paintings”, 2001
- Grimaldis Gallery, Baltimore, MD, “Decatur-Kansas City-New York-Baltimore”, 2001
- Kirkland Fine Arts Center, Millikin University, Decatur, IL, “Industrial Documentary”, 2000
- Jan Weiner Gallery, Kansas City, MO, “Baltimore”, 1999
- Massman Gallery, Rockhurst College, Kansas City, MO, “Industrial Kansas City”, 1997
- The Wichita Center for the Arts
- Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Oppenheimer Collection, Overland Park, KS (Two paintings in their Permanent Collection)
- H & R Block, Kansas City, MO
- Hallmark Cards Inc., Kansas City, MO
- Negro League Baseball Museum, Kansas City, MO
- Sprint, Headquarters, Corporate Office Kansas City, MO
- Stowers Institute, Kansas City, MO
- Federal Reserve Bank, Kansas City, MO
- Center Displays, Kansas City, MO
- Corporate Communications, Overland Park, KS
- DST Systems, Kansas City, MO
- American Century, Kansas City, MO
- Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO
- Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore, MD
- 3X3 Illustration Annual #16, 2019 (two paintings accepted), #17, 2020 (Three paintings accepted), (Juried Competition)
- 16th Annual Blache Ames National Juried Art Exhibition (BANJAE), Honorable Mention Award, 2019
- 15th Annual Blache Ames National Juried Art Exhibition (BANJAE), Honorable Mention Award, 2018
- 12th Annual 2014 Blanc Ames National Art Exhibit, Juried Publication and Exhibition, Sharon, MA, Honorable Mention, (2 paintings selected), 2014
- OPEN 15, Front Art Space, juried exhibition and publication (two paintings selected), New York, NY 2015/16
- Northwest Art Center, America’s 2015: All Media exhibition, Juried Exhibition and Publication, Minot State University, Minot, ND, 2015
- Maryland Federation of Art, Juror’s Choice Award, 14th Annual American Landscapes: Scenes from the Americas, Open-juried Exhibition, 2014
- TAPPED 11, Teacher/Student show – with former student Reuben Negron, Manifest Gallery, Juried Exhibition and Publication, 2020
- TAPPED 10, Teacher/Student show – with former student Cece Martin, Manifest Gallery, Juried Exhibition and Publication, 2019
- TAPPED 4, Teacher/Student show – with former student Sondy Bojanic, Manifest Gallery, Juried Exhibition and Publication, 2013
- K Space Contemporary’s juried exhibition -3rd Coast National, Corpus Christi, Texas, Honorable Mention, 2012
- Small Works 2012 & 2019, Harper College, Juried Show and Publication, Palatine, IL, 2012 & 2019
- Bluecanvas Magazine, article: KCAI + Bluecanvas, 2012
- The Fourth National Exhibition at Prince Street Gallery, Juried Exhibition, New York, NY, 2011
- National Small Oil Painting Exhibition – Executive Director’s Purchase Award/Honorable Mention: Wichita Center for the Arts, 2010
- Manifest, Magnitude 7, Juried Show, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017,2021
- Manifest 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, International Painting Annual, Juried Publication, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2013, 2012, 2010
- Studio Visit Magazine, Juried Publication, 2012, 2009
- G. Endres Memorial “Best of Show” Award, Prairie Village State of the Arts Exhibition, (Juror: Mark English), 2009
- New American Paintings, Juried Competition, 2009, 2003
- Art at the Center Juried Exhibition, Overland Park, KS, “Best of Show” Award, (Juror: Dean Mitchell), 2007
- Inaugurated in the first class of “Outstanding Alumni” of Decatur Public Schools Foundation, Celebrate! The Legacy of Learning committee, Decatur, IL, 2004
- Maryland Institute, College of Art, Trustees Award for Excellence in Teaching, 1999
- Received Scholarship to attend School of Visual Arts 1992-1994
- Society of Illustrators, 2019, 2017, 1997, 1994, 1992, 1991(Juried Competition)
- Society of Illustrators, Silver Medal Winner, (Juried Competition) 2019
- Society of Illustrators Los Angeles, 1998 (Juried Competition)
- American Illustration 1994, 2019, 2020, 2021 (Juried Competition)
- Communication Arts 1994 (Juried Competition)