quote: I couldn't stand it when people called me 'el pintor' -the painter.
                    for that matter, I still can't stand getting paint on my hands. -John on being an artist

The Murals

John Rivera-Resto is a world-class artist, considered by many as one of the top muralists in the United States. To date, John has completed twenty-six exterior murals, and over one hundred and fifty interior wall paintings. Smaller canvases far exceed that number. The subjects, themes, mediums and surfaces have been unique to each commission. They range from pictorial landscapes, renaissance-style extravaganzas, to nudes done on ceilings. The painting styles, determined by design or by request, have changed back-and-forth from the academic to impressionistic and to the surreal. Walls in temples, schools, and public buildings have been his largest canvases. However, most of his best pieces are kept hidden within the homes and private retreats of confidential clients.

Considering painting to be only a transitional facet of his life -a passing interest (his true aspirations were in the theater), John never bothered to sign most of his early works. But his skills were so well known, that public identification was never in question. Another unfortunate oversight was that he kept no photographic records. Except for the very recent, all of his exterior murals, particularly those done in the tropics, have faded away to the elements. The loss of so many of his mural paintings have never troubled John for he felt that he could always paint better ones. He also believed that murals should be allowed to fade away and then replaced once they served their intended purpose. It has been pointed out many times before, that John hit the stage running an artistic marathon! His first mural is his first painting ever: a monumental 2,275 square foot masterpiece. With this remarkable artwork, he started at an artistic level that had taken other artists years if not decades to achieve. It was perhaps his ease with the craft that gave him such a carefree and nonchalant attitude toward painting.

A more thoughtful explanation of John's attitude toward his own work is possibly the fact that he shared no interest for many of the subjects he was commissioned to paint. Painting was just a skill he fell into by chance and thereafter used to generate income so he could pursued other interests. And, considering that his clients came from all walks of life and from multicultural backgrounds, it became increasingly difficult for him to limit his art to the type of subjects he would have preferred to do. You must also consider that, in spite of John's prolific output at a muralist, mural painting is only a small part of what he does. He still writes, acts, directs, teaches, designs, travels, does research and lectures -and this does not include his other non-artistic interests and pursuits! He even learn how to write code so he could take over the task of creating, expanding and maintaining this website after the initial core page were written by a web-developer friend copying John's initial design.

The range and disparity of themes in John's work brings a beneficial side effect to such an inquisitive artist, being that, whatever the subject matter may be, he will perform diligent research on the background and individual histories of each subject. He insists in learning every possible detail on everything he renders in his paintings. He is perhaps one of the most knowledgeable artist in the business. To this very date, John still continues advancing his knowledge of the visual arts even as he tries to work less and less in the trade to make time for other interests. His one lament in life is that a lifetime is not enough to learn about all the things that capture his imagination.

The one thing that keeps John coming back to painting is generating income. Art pays for his other interests and so he paints. When asked what type of mural commissions he favors, John answers: "anything that requires extensive historical research or travel". Narratives and people are his preferred subjects, and painting large murals that display a sense of spectacle, is his forte. The grand, the lavish and the dramatic have always attracted him. It is in this arena that his taste for history, antiquity, fashion and the theater, come into play. This type of mural painting is the most admired and the most rare. Few clients have the vision, the patience and the financial resources to engage an artist in a project that requires such an expenditure of time and effort. So when an opportunity presents itself, John dives into it welcoming the challenge.

Fastidious attention to detail, wonderful modelling of form, controlled use of color and a fresh sense of humor are trademarks of John's art. But he follows no given pattern. Some murals he painted in a matter of days, others took months, several took a year or more. Others, like his witty satirical mural for the play "Reindeer Monologues" or the surreal set murals for the opera "Street Sense", were painted as part of a theatrical design to be painted over after a play's completion. This page contains about fifty of John's murals (the exact number might changed as others are added). Clicking on a thumbnail will open a page containing images and John's insightful commentary for that selection. These images will only give you an idea of what the mural paintings look like and the extent of John's amazing artistic range. Keep in mind that true color and details are lost in these low-resolution reproductions. The magic, the scale, the brilliance, the magnitude and sheer splendor of murals can only be enjoyed and appreciated on site.

Many of the pictures on this page have been provided by clients, for which we are grateful. Until recent years, John never kept photographic record of his paintings. These images are only a sampling that span forty years of work. In fact, John does not remember doing many of his smaller works, which were many. Once done with a job, he simply blocks it out of his mind. A telling anecdote is about the time he visited a friend's home and greatly admired a painting over a mantelpiece above a fireplace, only to be told by the friend that is was he who painted that painting over twenty years before! In a time before digital technology with a camera in every phone, photography was not such an easy and inexpensive convenience. It took some doing -and it still does, to successfully photograph a mural, especially in enclosed spaces. Lighting them without glare is always challenging and most can only be photographed in sections. Unfortunately, for this reason alone, many notable works could not be satisfactorily photographed and are now lost to time.

During the 1990's, John took an interest in photographing his works-in-progress for educational purposes as the images served as teaching aids. This also coincided the increase popularity of digital cameras and digital editing which made the task much easier. Then, after the creation of the Muralmaster website in 2003, he took a more proactive approach to supply the website with more content. Soon after, as teaching and lecturing engagements began to increase due in part to the website's popularity, he decided to actively record his work and present the content in its present form. Another advantage of having a website is that it served as John's portfolio. Even better, it provided John with a way to combine his artwork with his joy of writing.

One significant observation about John, it should be noted, is that, regardless of the demands of time, his personal preferences in subject matter or the complexities of any given project, his energy and dedication are extraordinary. These qualities are the ones that turn artists into great artist. But in John Rivera-Resto, it is his generosity and genius to pass his artistic knowledge and influence to others what makes him a master. John insists that the taxing art of mural painting is for the young. So, while he is still at the heights of his creative power, he explores other forms of art and dedicates more time to lecturing, teaching and training young talent. However, he will accept any mural commission that captures his interest -"and helps pay the bills".

Over the years, John Rivera-Resto has kept close ties with the public. Nowadays, he not only signs his murals but also includes his e-mail address or telephone number so that people can call or write with their comments or questions. Since launching Muralmaster, John has answered several hundred e-mails (as many as time allows) from all over the world. Art students, art lovers or detractors are encouraged to write to him (preferably in English or Spanish, though French and Italian are also welcomed). John's contact information is listed in the 'Contact us' Menu link. Some of your questions may appear on future updates.

Presently, as of this 2019 revision, John says he still has a few good murals in him but that this is not a priority. He lives in a city where the weather does not help sustain the longevity of murals and considerably shortens the painting season. Also, with the advancement of years, painting murals becomes more taxing on the body, so instead, John decided to concentrate his energies into theatre as well as smaller painting and design projects that can be digitally done. But rest assure that, if John decides to pick up the brush again, you will have a definite front row seat to view it on this website. But until then, you have plenty to see. Enjoy.

About Muralmaster.org
Muralmaster® is ‘an educational site’ privately sponsored and maintained. It contains no pop-ups, sales banners or advertisements. People from over thirty countries routinely visit Muralmaster to enjoy the articles and admire the art. This website is also a great learning tool for artists and young students wanting to know more about the inner workings of this artistic profession. In Muralmaster they get what they can’t get elsewhere: an intimate and sobering look into the struggles of an artistic mind and the difficult career-realities of being an artist.