The work of Johnny Bee Badanjek is a contemporary example of a true naive artist, with an amazing ability to express personal journeys as well as busy and bright compositions. The works are active and playful, much like the beat of a drum, which was Johnny’s first touch of artistic expression.
“John Badanjek is a very talented, serious artist, and I was honored when he requested a few words of art speak.
While John’s drive and creative force has been widely acknowledged in the music business, few people have been aware of his life long fascination and interest in the visual arts.
I’ve looked at, studied, and made art for more than 40 years. Unfortunately,
all that visual experience has left me super critical and greatly underwhelmed by most of the stuff being shown in contemporary galleries. But all that aside, I have to tell you, the first Johnny Bee painting I saw really rocked my socks.
John’s a very bright boy who has given serious study to most of the major
artists and important paintings of the 20th century. He is remarkably self-taught, and his current work often takes many directions in layered homage
to Kandinsky, Gorky, Picasso, or DeKooning, to name just a few….
… But on top of this diverse encyclopedia of influence John adds his own personal spin, and he creates unique new pictures that often remind me of something I ain’t never seen before.” Roy Castleberry MFA Wayne State University 1975
34 Secerts II
What is the secret?
I don’t know I have to paint it.
Absence Is everything!
What to leave In or what to take out.
If I want to know what happens, If I want to find out the secret, I have to paint It.
In many ways this is painting about silence and the expressive potential of the interior
and the exterior worlds.
My Mother along with her Brother and both their parents came over to America from Yugoslavia.
They where born in Croatia.
My artistic abilities came down the bloodline from my Grandmother, who would always be building
something with her hands. She would build churches out of cardboard and wood, and when you opened
the doors there would be alittle alter with tiny candlesticks and pews, crucifix’s, the station’s
of the cross. It would look like a real church.
She would have been known today as a self-taught, art brut, or outsider artist. Declared insane-
and had a full blown story about her in Raw Vision Magazine.
When she babysit my younger brother(Steve) and I, she would tell us stories about the old country
when she was alittle girl living in Yugoslavia.
She found a star, she said that fell out of the sky one night and In to her backyard.
When she found It, she buried it on the roof of her house so no one could steal it.
She said the colors where so beautiful, the most beautiful thing she’d had every seen in her life.
When she watched my brother and I we would always draw at her house from a box of colored pencils
that had all the colors of that fallen star In It.
In grade school I started to play the drums and my drawing and art career was slowly pushed aside
for a career in music. And success came at an early age when we where all just teenagers.
I headed for New York City and recorded with Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels,Edgar Winter, The
Rockets, Alice Cooper, Dr.John, Bob Seger, Nils Lofgren, The Romantics just to name a few of the
great recording artists.
About ten years ago I threw myself back Into my first love – art – It made me so happy – little
did I know what lied ahead.
I dove In head first and tryed to learn all that I could. I never went to art school. I’m self -
taught and learned by looking and reading books about other painters and their philosophies.
And by also painting and drawing as much as I could.What would It take for people to want the inner-life more than the outer-life?
Courage to strike out for something meaningful.
But the only way you can really do that is to risk poverty, to risk not being popular.
Here’s part of a poem I recall that went something like.
I’m sorry I cannot say “I love you” when you say you love me.
The words, like moist fingers, appear before me full of promises,
but than run away to alittle black room that is always dark.
So here we are In the dark-
Every work of art begins from nothing.And one of my favorite poems by Anna Akhmatova says alot about art.
I bear equally with you,
the bleak permanent separation,
why are you crying? rather give me your hand,
promise to come again In a dream.
You and I are a mountain of grief.
You and I will never meet on this Earth.
If only you could send me at midnight a greeting through the stars.
Being self-taught this is how I learn…..from all those who came before.
Painting Is a form of prayer.