Tolles, John

Studio Specialty


Series Title

Assessment Procedures


Full size



Work Type



canvas, latex paint, acrylic gesso, enamel pint


64" x 42"

Artist Statement

“[A]rt is something subversive. It's something that should not be free. Art and liberty, like the fire of Prometheus, are things that one must steal, to be used against the established order . . . [W]hy did Plato say that poets should be chased out of the republic? Precisely because every poet and every artist is an antisocial being. He's not that way because he wants to be; he can't be any other way.... and if he really is an artist it is in his nature not to want to be admitted, because if he is admitted it can only mean he is doing something which is understood, approved, and therefore old hat - worthless. Anything new, anything worth doing, can't be recognized . . . the right to free expression is something one seizes, not something one is given . . . if it does exist, it exists to be used against the established order . . . . There is absolute opposition between the artist and the state. So there's only one tactic for the state: kill the seers.”
-Pablo Picasso, Life with Picasso, by Francoise Gilot and Carlton Lake.
Art is a commitment beyond all others. Art is a gratuitous but selfless act. The traditional two-dimensional equilateral surface of a canvas is a sandbox space with infinite imaginable possibilities. I am obsessed with the contradictions innate to art making. My work is a remix of, my sexuality, psychology and my socio-cultural beliefs. Why am I an artist and not a doctor? This is the kind of question that drives me. Art chooses you when you feel how much it can offer. As a person with dyslexia, the ability to think spatially is one of my strengths, as opposed to organized thinking. Art allows me to harness my thought processes; to hone it, sharpen it, and to use it to control a world that is unorganized, chaotic, and messy. Art is where I can have full, unrestrained control over the mutable.

Web Site


Annual Collection

Work Type


Tolles, John, “SuperPer,” Lewis & Clark Senior Art, accessed December 8, 2016, https://library.lclark.edu/seniorprojects/items/show/4113.
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