JOHN CHRISTENSEN is an artist working in Austin, Texas. Born in New York City, he received a BA from Harvard in Visual and Environmental Studies, and a MFA from the University of Texas.
I design and make objects and spaces in public, private, theatrical and commercial arenas. For over 20 years, I have successfully met thematic and practical challenges presented by clients and collaborators. I bring to these tasks experience with a broad range of materials and processes, and I seek design solutions that are poetic, integrative and surprising.
Before 1990, I developed a body of site-sensitive work in rural landscapes of New York, Georgia and Texas. Since 1990, I have focused that sensibility on projects for the theatre and the public place. I have created, in collaborations with choreographers, interactive props and theatrical environments for 25 productions presented in the Americas, Europe and Asia. I have designed and built commercial spaces and furniture. I worked with others in the development of iconic elements, structures and infrastructure for a municipal park. I have completed large-scale public and private commissions in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Albuquerque, Miami, and Tucson.
Interests in natural science, metaphysics, literature and history, inform my artistic practice. For many years, I adapted natural forms – investing them with breath and physical centers – endeavoring to move an audience through direct somatic appeal. For the last several years, I have more often made three-dimensional drawings that map a vision of - or journey through - a physical and psychic universe. My intent is disruptive and optimistic – that we may effectively re-imagine personal ambitions and communal goals.
I source material for my sculptures from the natural world. The forms of sculptures I made for an airport abstracted wind-blown seeds. Architectural forms I designed for a municipal park merge with the surrounding tree canopy. A work I installed in Albuquerque recalls the theatre of clouds and landforms of the four-corners region. Another work refers to wave-interference patterns and Polynesian navigation methods. A recent work uses the wormhole as a metaphor for psychic travel and transformation. I make works that are sensitive to site, I’m committed to designing for the public place, and I continue to experiment with sculpted space and human interaction.