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John Choly 

John Choly, Artist

"I paint for peace in the world I paint for love."

Biographic Artist Statement

I was born in Yonkers, New York on July 28, 1959. My parents moved our family to the new middle-class suburbs of Connecticut in the sixties. I grew up with a proud sense of my Ukrainian heritage and Catholic religion. Along with this came a sense of caring about others and the world. 

I was a creative child; I can remember making clothes for my stuffed toys as early as four or five years old. I loved art class in school and I loved creative writing. I was chosen for the part of Rip Van Winkle in my fifth grade class play. By age ten I knew that I wanted to do something in the arts and playing Rip Van Winkle led me to pursue a career in acting through college. 

In college, I double majored in Theater & Elementary Education and completed a children's book for my senior thesis. I graduated from St. Leo College and let go of a career in acting to pursue my growing interest in authorship and illustration for children's literature. 


I began studying watercolor to bring my stories to life. I was doing paintings of barns, fruit, flowers and landscapes. Then people wanted to buy this work. At first I wouldn't sell the paintings because of my commitment to writing and illustrating children's books. With demand increasing, I put aside the children's book idea and made painting my artistic focus. This has been my creative path and outlet for the past twenty years. 

Some of my first watercolors were of the purple iris, New England rock walls and Provincetown sunsets on the water.  Over time symbols of the heart and the moon started happening.  Acrylic got included.

Three-dimensional work came along, including found objects. I started painting on wood using house paint. It's all energy now. No more drawing lines, at least not right now. My style has been accurately called down and dirty. It's prolific, raw, spontaneous. The process grabs and moves me to do what it wants. 


Along life's journey, my ideas about God and religion have changed greatly. I have gone from a strong Catholic upbringing to a more modern Buddhist approach. My art has changed accordingly, moving from traditional watercolors to modern pieces inspired by energy and mystery. 


My work has been in coffee houses, galleries, bookstores, and museums. I have curated numerous exhibitions featuring my own work as well as others. I have exhibited at fund raisers, craft shows and many events over the past twenty years. My art is in many homes and collections throughout the world. The most amazing and special part of this is that it has all been part of a larger dream and commitment to connect with kindred love souls on the planet. 


My most important exhibition opened in 1998 at the Cortland Jessup Gallery in Provincetown,  MA. It was called the "Moon Project". I had painted a miniature of the of the moon as I saw it each night for an entire year. The  show was all 365 paintings hung in chronological order. Each painting was its own little story about looking for the moon and what I experienced. "Moon Project II" is in my future plans. 


Moving to Provincetown in 2000 led to the most important part of my art story. I opened, ran and completed the CHOLY GALLERY in 2002. Although I realized that I was probably not meant to run a business, I had the greatest summer of my life and learned the most about my self as a person and artist. 


More than a career, my art has been about a most beautiful journey. Rather than worrying about slides, press releases and keeping track of my paintings, I have let them do their own thing.  It is more like  a grass-roots underground movement of love. It is silent, peaceful, beautiful revolution for our souls. 


I paint for others; I paint for myself; I paint to connect. Although I have experienced sadness and pain in the world, I know there is much goodness and joy. It is this which I choose to express in my artwork. I paint for peace in the world I paint for love. 

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