John Taft Painting John Taft Painting

John Taft bio image

Originally from western New York, John studied design and art at Rochester Institute of Technology, and then at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.  His work took him from Los Angeles to Minneapolis and then to New York City where he worked as a Designer and Art Director for a number of design groups and television networks.

Whenever he and his wife would leave “The City” for a weekend, the landscape would have a strong impact on him, reminding him of his upbringing, when, if not playing baseball, he would spend many a summer day working the fields for his father on the family tree nursery, working in “wind and rain and weather”.  Weekends in New York City provided opportunities for a different kind of culture, that of great art in museums and galleries.  The Metropolitian Museum of Art became a favorite, as did the Frick Museum and MoMa.  Retrospectives on Corot, Monet, Lucian Freud, and exhibits featuring the Hudson River School Painters, Van Gogh, Odd Nerdrum, and George Inness caused John to grow in his appreciation of great art.  When he became a "hands off" Design Director in early 2001, he decided to get "hands on" by resuming drawing and beginning to paint when he could find time between his work and a growing family. His first issue of Southwest Art Magazine arrived soon afterward, and one full-page ad caught his attention, advertizing a one-man show later that month in Manhattan of great western landscape painter, Clyde Aspevig.  So John was blessed with seeing the work of Clyde Aspevig as his first example of western landscape art.  In John’s opinion Clyde's work stood up there with the historical pieces he was familiar with from Museums, not due solely to the significant skill on display, but because the paintings moved him.  9/11 happened six months later, and within a few months John was joining Mako Fujimura and a group of artists, in Tribecca just blocks from ground zero, for weekly breakfast meetings to discuss art, faith, and purpose.  The idea of leaving an established career to become an artist developed, and in 2004 the opportunity to pursue this call presented itself and he and his family moved west to Colorado where he began painting with focus.

His work has since received a number of awards and honors, including two Top Landscape Awards of Excellence from the Oil Painters of America National Exhibit, the Fine Art Connoisseur’s Award of Excellence this year at the National Western Club Show in Denver, and two invitations to the American Masters at the Salmagundi Club in New York City.  Additionally, he has had three one-man shows at Vail International Gallery.



Fine Art Connoisseur magazine Award of Excellence, National Western Club Show, January 2015

Award of Excellence, Oil Painters of America National.  June, 2012

Southwest Art Magazine, feature article, July 2012

American Art Collector, July, 2011

Western Art Collector, August, 2010

American Masters at the Salmagundi Club, NY.  May, 2009 & 2010

Nomadas del Arte,

Plein-air show, Honorable Mention, April, 2010

Nomadas del Arte, Plein-air show, 2nd place award, March 2008

August 2007 Southwest Art Magazine, "Landscapes of Colorado"

Oil Painters of America National Exhibition, Award of Excellence, 2006

Cultural Times Magazine feature article, “Artist on the Cusp”, June 2006

“Artist to Watch”, Southwest Art Magazine, April 2006

America in Miniature show, Gilcrease Museum, 2006

Invitational Colorado Governor’s Show, 2006

OPA Central Regional Show, 2005

Arts for the Parks Mini 100 Show, 2005

Elements 5280 Gallery

5940 S. Holly Street, Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111 | 303.804.5280

Upcoming Events

Artist Demo - Martha Heppard
Sat Aug 15 @11:00AM


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Featuring Watercolor Batik Demonstration from Award-Winning Artist 


Martha Heppard

Saturday - August 15


Contemporary Approaches
Fri Sep 11 @10:00AM
Featuring New Work from Four Award-Winning Female Artists   Lora Witt, Peggy Judy, Iris Scott, and Martha Heppard ...

About the Gallery

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