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Art & Life with John A. Peralta

Today we’d like to introduce you to John A Peralta.

John A, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
I grew up in LA in the mid-seventies. My family’s roots date back to the second Spanish governor, Don Pedro de Peralta, who founded the city of Santa Fe in 1607. And although I now live in Austin Texas, I consider myself a native of both LA and New Mexico.

From my mid‐teens through my mid‐twenties I lived in communes where I developed practical self‐reliance and a love for the natural world. I then spent more than 20 years living abroad and traveling throughout East Asia, India, Africa, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, and Europe.

Some of my earliest memories are of my brother and me pulling our wagon around the neighborhood, knocking on doors, collecting broken radios, televisions, tape players – anything we could get our hands on – opening them up to see what made them work. As a teen, I spent a lot of time sketching with pencil and charcoal. I was particularly inspired by the mind-bending work of M.C. Escher. I loved the way he broke all the rules of geometry, symmetry and mechanics. My other major influences are the great cubist artists, Metzinger and Picasso.

For most of my professional career I worked in corporate and educational fields. I served as Executive Director of International Affairs at UCLA, where I was responsible for the university’s global advancement. Prior to that, I lived seven years in Hong Kong where I founded an international consulting firm that advised universities, non-profit organizations, and governments on strategic management issues. As interesting as my work was, it lacked creativity. That, and a growing sense of lost time, prompted me to search for a creative outlet. Inspired by my kids’ play, I began designing toys and launched a small toy company. It was the start of an explosively creative period for me that eventually led me to my current artistic pursuit.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I am a self-taught artist. My sculptures incorporate dissected mechanical objects and high-tech materials to produce astonishingly beautiful and complex three-dimensional representations of what is known in engineering terms as exploded diagrams.

Although I dabbled with art all my life, I received no formal training. It wasn’t until my thirties, while living in Hong Kong, that I came across an exploded diagram of a bicycle on the back of a magazine. Although I has seen many such drawings over the years, I was suddenly stricken by its fragile beauty, and imagined what a three-dimensional version might look like. Using only a ruler and simple tools, which I still use today, I set out to developed techniques for suspension that expose the inner workings of common mechanical objects.

The subjects I choose are usually icons of utility and invention. They are things with which the viewer has some level of intimate experience, whether directly, or indirectly: like the typewriter your grandfather used in the war, your grandmother’s sewing machine, your father’s pocket watch, an iconic electric guitar. We have a strong emotional connection to these simple mechanical objects. They seem to retain an ethereal quality – like the fleeting memories of the people who once used them. Modern technology has conditioned us so that we seldom look at the devices we use with the same curiosity.

I like to think these machines hold our secrets that we’ve long forgotten. They’ve watched generations pass; recorded every scene, love letter, and document. If you’re patient, and you look closely, you can see that each image, word, and note is permanently imprinted on them.

What would you recommend to an artist new to the city, or to art, in terms of meeting and connecting with other artists and creatives?
Don’t be afraid to approach other artists whom you admire. Everyone has, at some point in their career, struggled with self-doubt. I find that almost all artists are more than happy to give advice or even a helping hand.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My website is:

I am currently represented by the following galleries:

George Billis Gallery
2716 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90034

Wally Workman Gallery
202 West 6th Street, Austin, TX 78703

Gerald Peters Projects
1011 Paseo De Peralta, Santa Fe NM 87501

Cinq Gallery
905 Dragon St, Dallas TX 75207

Contact Info:

  • Address: Austin, TX
  • Website:
  • Phone: 310 592 6705
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @johnperaltafineart

Image Credit:
David De Gendt and John Peralta.

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