Magazine article Art Business News

Artist to Watch: Fifth-Grade Artexpo Exhibitor John Woolley Sketches beyond His Years

Magazine article Art Business News

Artist to Watch: Fifth-Grade Artexpo Exhibitor John Woolley Sketches beyond His Years

Article excerpt

TEMECULA, Calif. -- JOHN WOOLLEY has many talents: conga player, magician, golfer, just to name a few.

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He's also a gifted artist, whose sketches of daily life just scratch the surface of newly discovered artistic potential.

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Oh, by the way, he's only 11 years old.

This self-taught artist from Temecula, Calif., is a non-stop drawing machine with more than 210 drawings to his credit. More than 60 of them will be on display at his SOLO booth at the 32nd Annual International Artexpo March 25 to 28 in New York. (Find out more about the show on page 38.)

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Woolley's accidental foray into art started 20 months ago when he visited a backpacking store and came across a stapled booklet series titled "Moonlight Chronicles" by Dan Price. Publisher Random House describes the book as "a cult favorite of art, travel writing and outdoor enthusiasts" with "spirited language and charming pictures" reminding "you of the small joys of life and the fact that happiness abounds, just waiting to be discovered along the highways and byways of America."

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Inspired by the book, Woolley started "Backyard Journals," capturing his daily life with images of tractors, national landmarks, salt-and-pepper shakers, surfers and much more. Some of the artwork is joined by his writings that describe the story behind the sketches and paintings.

"I like the idea of chronicling my life with art," says Woolley, a soft-spoken fifth grader with brown eyes and thick, wavy brown hair.

In fact, Woolley's friendship with Price has resulted in two of Woolley's pictures being featured in issues 66 and 68 of "Moonlight Chronicles."

Dave Woolley, John's father, says his son "fell in love with painting" after the trip to the backpacking store. …

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