John Van Der Kolk
John trained as an Industrial designer/patternmaker in the plastics industry in Sydney. He took up woodcarving and multi media sculpture full time after moving to the mid north coast of NSW in 1990. His subject matter can vary from representations of marine and native fauna classical figurative studies to powerful abstractions and whimsical decorative pieces.
He spent a number of years travelling through Africa Europe and the Middle East and confesses to being fascinated with the contrasts between such things as the highly stylised West African stone carvings and the decorative art and architecture of the Turks. "I think I am to busy refining my craft to have formulated any philosophy about what I now do. From an early age and from my travels I recall having an interest in the visual arts fuelled by the "object" rather than the "image".
His greatest influence has been his trade or perhaps a reaction against his training. It seems the more comfortable he became with various media the more frustrated he became at the lack of any creative input into their use. Johns amazingly creative sculptures have seen him much sought after for exhibitions and commissions and these range from being the featured artist at arts festivals to providing gifts for former Prime Minister John Howard and former Minister for the Arts Senator Richard Alston. His public sculptures grace much of the landscape in and around the mid north coast.
Recently John has been gaining wide acceptance Internationally with works represented and sold at the 2007 Florence Biennale and he has been invited to conduct Master classes in Italy.