j o h n f e o d o r o v
Born in Los Angeles of mixed Navajo (Diné) and Euro-American heritage, John Feodorov grew up in the suburbs of Southern California while making annual visits to his family’s land on the Navajo Reservation. The time he spent on his grandparents’ homestead in New Mexico continues to influence his work.
Feodorov’s art both engages and confronts the viewer through questioning assumptions about Spirituality, Identity and Place within the context of a consumer-driven culture. Lately, he has been responding to ongoing environmental exploitation and degradation by both government and corporate sources, as well as their potential effects on how we relate to and understand our sense of Place.
John’s work has been featured in several publications; most recently in, Time and Time Again, by Lucy R. Lippard, and Manifestations, edited by Dr. Nancy Marie Mithlo. He was also featured in the first season of the series, “Art 21: Art for the 21st Century”.
Feodorov served as an Arts Commissioner for the City of Seattle from 2000-2003 and holds the position of Associate Professor of Art at Fairhaven College at Western Washington University in Bellingham Washington. He also writes and performs with his music group, The Almost Faithful.
Put simply, I make art about the things I think about, based upon my experiences, concerns, hopes, mistakes, and life as a mixed-race Navajo man. While there is an ongoing thematic and iconographic consistency to my work, my attitudes continue to evolve and sometimes change all together. Therefore, I suppose my art is merely the physical manifestation of my thought. This is hardly earth-shaking news, but I’ve come to understand that my life as an artist is just…my life. My art is not separate from me. Me and my art are all one confused and complicated bundle.
That said, I fell the crux of my work meanders around themes of meaning and identity and the ways we seek to locate them within our lives. Sometimes this search is an act of desperation—a longing for a Something, an Other, that may or may not exist. However, I find that I’m less interested in what this Something might be. Instead, it is the desire for it that captivates me. At times I feel this same desire, though I am not actively seeking to satisfy it.
Years ago I visited the Anasazi ruins at Chaco Canyon N.M. during the much-hyped Harmonic Convergence, when people were gathering at numerous sacred sites around the world. Inside one of the large kivas, a group of spiritual pilgrims formed a circle while sitting in lotus position. In the center, they erected a plastic totem pole, an object possessing no significance to native peoples of the Southwest. For me, their sincere act seemed more like desecration than a spiritual reconnecting to nature or the divine. It is these kinds of well-intentioned yet misguided acts that both intrigue and sadden me.
I enjoy complicating the relationship between profane and sacred through my work. I believe one of the most important things art can do is trigger a disruption of our conscious selves; overturning our checkerboard of assumptions and opinions. And perhaps this disruption is the most important kind of “spiritual experience" we can have.
My feelings about art are summed up in this short “manifesto” I wrote a couple of years ago:
“I am for an art that kicks my soul in the ass. And if we do not have souls, I am for an art that makes me feel like I have a soul, and that it has just been kicked in the ass.”
Copyright 2013 Ambiguous Art