John Lawson
American, born 1962

John Lawson, who studied landscape painting as part of his training, is best known for creating intricate artworks using leftover Mardi Gras beads collected from the streets of New Orleans, where he resides. In explaining his choice of medium, Lawson says, “I didn’t find colors vivid enough until I started using Mardi Gras beads,” adding that, “you can’t get that any other way, not in oil, not in acrylic.” Often, these bead compositions are portraits, or mythical and narrative scenes; Lawson has also covered, with beads, objects like pianos, mannequins, and the 53-foot long bar top at the artist hangout Audubon Hotel. After surviving Hurricane Katrina, Lawson produced an autobiographical multi-media work titled Floodline (2007), which included beadwork, encaustic wax pieces, and the artist’s first work in digitally manipulated photography.

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