Looking at the artwork of John Scrudder is to see both the human condition and his own life's journey at once. Born in Santa Rosa, California, Scrudder turned to art from a young age - Whether in comic books or his own creations - as an escape from a world outside his mind that often felt confusing and hostile. Yet, his career as an artist took a detour after he joined the military out of high school and turned away from the outlet that had always comforted him. Two decades of confusion and self-seeking later, Scrudder answered the call of his art, finding redemption for his time spent without it and becoming an exhibited and awarded artist within only a few years.
Spending his childhood summers with no one but the fictional friends in his favorite books, the hardship of feeling like an outsider while managing personality disorders has birthed the healing practice John Scrudder offers viewers through his art. The panic and pressure of a constantly racing mind are assuaged by the slowed-down, meditative process of creating and solving puzzles in Scrudder's art. In a culture that moves at the speed of digital text appearing on a screen, an invitation to slow down and consider our problems - from personal relationships to societal inequality - is embedded within Scrudder's artwork.
Through his stream of consciousness approach, John Scrudder discovered the method of creating puzzles, particularly mazes, within his work as both a representation of life's journey and a space in which he can escape the intensity of his own life's maze for a time. Often using found objects like tables, mirrors, and even wakeboards, Scrudder transforms everyday items into art with paint pens or ink, bending reality with his surrealist imagery. His work has been awarded, exhibited across the United States, and featured in the solo exhibition LOOK CLOSER by the Welborn Gallery. Today John Scrudder considers, creates and provokes conversation with his art from his home in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
My Life has been comprised of mazes, from the problems of the world to the problems of my own personality. Growing up feeling like an outsider, I uncovered a language within my art to discuss the world even when no one else would answer. Using paint pens or ink to create geometric forms and mazes bordering on chaos but always offering path out of the puzzle, I visualize the experience every human knows - searching for solutions within the maze of Life.
Seeking my redemption for a life of hardships and mistakes makes art a crucial part of my personality. Though I often feel confused, frustrated, or angry, creating the mazes within my work taps into the human desire to make sense of the unknown, quelling the overwhelming dread of navigating a high-speed world. Transposing my personal search for answers to a visual search for the exit in a maze takes the intense vastness of life and contains it within a single work of art., rendering the overwhelm of life's journey into a single puzzle that can be solved by slowing down and searching.
Whether I'm depicting the pain of personal relationships, class and race inequality, or questions of meaning in life, the process of creating mazes within my work forces my racing mind to slow down and focus on what's before me. Through transforming complex human issues into complex visual puzzles, my art invites viewers to stand still for just a moment longer and instead of going through the motions, slow down to solve our problems.