John Paul Kesling (b. 1980, USA) was born and raised in Northeastern Kentucky in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. He received his BFA in Arts from Morehead State University (Morehead, KY, 2003) and spent a summer in Europe studying art history (Summer, 2002). He went on to receive his MFA in Painting from The Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA, 2010). He spent the next six years in Brooklyn, NY immersed in the NYC art scene. In 2016, he relocated to Madison, TN, just outside of Nashville.

Regarding his work, Kesling writes: “My practice delves into the complexities of human intimacy, both romantic and familial. After the death of my younger brother and many of my friends to the ongoing opioid epidemic of my Appalachian hometown the country at large, my own mortality is embedded within my mark-making. Driven by a need to understand the world around me, my work serves as a visual exploration of the emotional and psychological intricacies of intimate relationships, personal loss, and our place in the natural world. Imbued with a deep sense of nostalgia, the work harkens back to the excitement and vulnerability of new human connections and experiencing nature in a new light. For me, painting is as necessary as digging in the dirt – dragging your hand through a body of water – across a freshly buzzed head.