About John Tappel
John Tappel was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 1st, 1940. At a very young age he developed an interest in Chinese Art. John began academic training in June 1974 under the tutelage of Professor Yet-Por Cheng at the Chinese Art Institute in San Francisco, California. During those years John became increasingly interested in exploring and developing Chinese modes of painting, mainly free style. Other painters tried to simplify or modify the brush stroke, but John remained faithful to the traditional technique of Chinese Brush Stroke; doing so he maintained the spirit, resonance, and the implicit feelings of substance and liveliness.
John's paintings evoke the works of Chu Ta, and the "Eight Eccentrics of Yangchow". His brush strokes are simple, bold, unconventional, and at times, exaggerate the image with an impressive expression of a free and independent character. Those expressions reach us through not only a juxtaposition of strokes in which conflicts of opposites have new purposes that perplex and inspire, but, also, in the subtle quality given to the spirit of the subject. You have an image that can be easily recalled or that might even return of its own accord… John’s strokes have a characteristic that encourages travel in the imagination. Through proficiency John freed himself from any restrictions imposed by technique. This can only be appreciated by intuition. No brief discussion can encompass the numerous meanings suggested.
In keeping with a Chinese Folk saying, "there is another heaven above the heaven we know, and there are people with greater achievements than of those we know,". John was not content with his current achievements. His legacy remains like sailing a sampan against the currents… John’s words are prevalent today as we view his paintings “if you do not advance, you will drift behind.” Through his paintings we feel his focus on the essential qualities of his art. The brush stroke with its inherent structural force significant in expressing emotion (ch'u). The natural order (Li) in creating an idea (tei). And most importantly the subtle and complex tonality in the ink.