The often quote scriptural verse that says: "no one is a prophet in its own land," can best describe the career of American master-muralist John Rivera-Resto. The Cleveland native, hardly known outside the city's artistic circles, is a minor celebrity in several cities around the world in part due to the popularity of his award-winning educational website,
Through muralmaster, John receives letters from students, professionals, and art lovers from over thirty countries as well as commissions and requests for speaking and workshop engagements. A graduate of
In early spring he simultaneously received two invitations. The first one was to revisit France, one of his favorite travel destinations, but it was the second letter that caught his attention.
Armed with a laptop and an Indonesian Cultural Visa, John took off in the middle of May. However, what was supposed to be a three-week trip to Bali turned into a three-month journey through several Asian destinations in Japan, Thailand and Indonesia, visiting towns and cities such as
John is an individual ideally suited for the fast pace of international ventures. He is outgoing, inquisitive, independent, a people-person; a trained actor, street-smart, resourceful, well educated, and a good conversationalist with an ear for languages. His confident demeanor, sharp wit and rock-star looks make him a welcome addition at many social gatherings. No sooner word got around that “the muralmaster” was visiting Indonesia invitations started coming in.
One of these invitations became several consultation meetings with Indonesia's powerful Taipan,
Taking advantage of his visit, John was sponsored by OnStage for a lecture series at the National Art Gallery in Jakarta. But the event was soon changed to the modern nearby facilities of
As a special treat, John also presented, for the first time since its creation in 2001, his own acknowledge masterpiece:
Following the lecture series, John conducted a mural painting workshop to introduce Indonesian painters to his own techniques and business methodology as a muralist. The result was the creation of a major painting, 'the Anguish of Rama', John's retelling of the love story from the epic poem
John Rivera-Resto’s brilliance as a presenter and his remarkable ability as a visual artist are in no small measure a result of his multicultural background and upbringing. He grew up in the Island of Puerto Rico, an American colonial territory; immerse in a Spanish-Caribbean culture until the age of twenty, before migrating to Cleveland, his birth town in the United States. Years of study and "going native" during his travels gave him a worldly perspective that can only be obtained through contact experience. This infused in him visual language and appealing qualities that the people of Indonesia, a nation made up of hundreds of cultures and former European colonies, welcomed and found refreshing.
Returning to his hometown of Cleveland, in the United States, after his extended and busy stay in Asia, John expresses mixed feelings during several interviews with the
John also confided that, as he gets older, he paints less while slowly moving his career into film-making, but that he greatly enjoys teaching and lecturing (and it shows). After all, John is not only a top professional in his field, but has to be one of the few professors that have actually experienced the places, the people, and the situations he talks about. In fact, one of his goals has always been to join the art faculty of an area college. However, while he has demonstrated an extraordinary gift for filling auditoriums in many international venues, there seems to be no interest in what he has to offer in his own back yard. For this reason, he is considering a few offers from other American cities and abroad though he feels reluctant to make the move due to personal reasons. But in the meantime, this will not deter him from accepting invitations from around the world from admirers who would be more than happy to have him. As for Asia one thing is certain, he will return.