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THE ORLANDO SENTINEL
Artist Spotlight John J. Browne Ayes
By Sara Sheckler
July 30, 2004
John J. Browne Ayes is the artist of the month at the Osceola Center for the Arts in Kissimmee.
Medium: My favorite medium is oil on canvas. I am multi-talented, so I also do photography, wood sculpture, watercolor, acrylics, graphite, pen and ink and clay sculpture as well as wax sculpture. Why so many mediums? Each discipline hones and trains my artistic visual sight.
Describe your style: Basically, I am a figurative (realistic genre) surrealist in the style of Salvador Dali.
What art training or influences have you had? I studied figure drawing at the School of Visual Arts and Photography and Commercial Art at The School of Art and Design, both in Manhattan. I was introduced to bee's wax sculpture by the master sculptor and teacher Frank Eliscu at The School of Art and Design. My artistic influences have been Leonardo da Vinci, Salvador Dali, Francisco de Goya and Diego Velazquez.
How long have you been an artist? I began drawing when I was 3. My blessed mother, Calzada Garcia Ayes Browne, gave me my first pencil and paper for entertainment. When I was 12, my sister Raquel Santiago gave me my first oil paint set. I will be 59 in September, so . . . I've been an artist for 56 years. I can say that I have had a lot of practice and experience.
When I'm not creating art I am probably: Observing the wondrous and beautiful world around me. I really see it. The light, the shadows and the textures. I'm sorry, but creating art that translates the former is my whole life. When we aren't busy, my wife and I go hiking, and we love to relax indoors and outdoors together. I also love to work in the garden.
If you could be any famous artist, who would it be and why? I am happy being myself. I have learned a lot and have accomplished a lot in my 56 years of creating art. I wouldn't trade that for being in another's shoes. I like to move forward, not backward. Becoming a famous artist would mean having to move back in time, and that's not a good thing. I have been given so much. Now, I must do my part to try to perfect it.
Creating art can take a lot of energy. What do you do to rejuvenate yourself? I eat simply and not too much. I don't drink or take drugs. I supplement my meager diet with vitamins and herbs. I also meditate to soothe and calm myself and to seek my inspirations for art.
Does artistic talent run in your family? My sister Raquel won first place in photography at the Osceola Center for the Arts last May. My nephew, Derek Santiago, is a computer graphic artist. My niece, Melina Borrero, is a fine-arts painter and a degreed art teacher. My sister Lillian Borrero sews on the level of an artist. My grandfather Feliciano Ayes Ortiz was a mural painter in Puerto Rico. My mother was a crochet artist. I guess you could say that art is a genetic factor in my family.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be, and why? I am really happy living in Kissimmee. The city, with the help of the Osceola Center for the Arts, Kissimmee City Hall and El Centro Cultural Puertorriquena de la Florida, is working very hard on behalf of the arts. Kissimmee, I feel, is blossoming into a real art community. I am very happy to be here making art history along with other artists.
What would improve the art scene in Osceola County? More public and private support for the only art agency in the county, the Osceola Center for the Arts. They work really hard on behalf of the people of Osceola County and its visual artists, theater and dance artists 24-7. All art is a wonderful gift that soothes and calms as well as heals our weary minds away from the humdrum pace of workaday life.
Where can people see your work? At Kissimmee City Hall through Sept. 16. I also have three works at The Little Art Studio in Kissimmee.
The Osceola Center for the Arts is at 2411 E. U.S. Highway 192. For information, call the box office at 407-846-6257 or go online at ocfta.com.