biography | statement

John Hovig
Amazon Instagram


Born New York State, 1968.

Lives and works in Houston, Texas




My work coalesces around three important themes: the relationship between the organic and the mechanical; the use of intensity to convey aesthetic meaning; and the desire to provide enough activity to keep the viewer energetically engaged across multiple viewings.

Conceptually, I am drawn to the relationship between the organic and the mechanical. It is fascinating that paper clips, bicycle parts and architectural hand drawings are as natural as they are technical.

Aesthetically, I am excited by differences in intensity, both in line density and in color. Some of my continuous-line drawings use different widths of pen, but some use only one. Some use black ink, but some use multiple colors. In all cases, however, motion emerges through differences in intensity. The same is true of the Clips & Rulers paintings and Mandalas: differences in density and color across the piece create gradients of energy which can be read by the eye.

Visually, I always want something different to look at. My continuous-line drawings are abstract cloud-like shapes which create different forms for every viewer. My Clips & Ruler paintings and mandalas are so dense with activity and varied in color that they become visual mazes for the eye.




Clips & Ruler. Paper clips, portrayed roughly, arranged symmetrically—albeit messily—around a slashing ruler. Begun as a visual pun on Jasper Johns’s Corpse and Mirror, they became a comment on homogeneity and perfectibility. I’ve heard many interpretations: teeming bacteria, swarming insects, office workers, crowding masses, or just abstract patterns.


CR Mandalas. Clips & Ruler paintings turned into overlapping circular complications. I made digital prints by cropping, reflecting, repeating, and overlapping photographs of my paintings. The images are complicated in form, yet pleasing in symmetry.


Asemic Figure Drawings. Gestural continuous-line drawings, unbroken hand-drawn lines of ink. I was a full-time software developer when I made them, curious to know what kind of art a hand could create better than an electronic printer. I consider these drawings abstract calligraphy. (“Asemic” refers to markings which look like writing, but meaningless).


Cycladic Riders. Brightly-colored bicycle parts remixed into humanoid and equine forms. Are they cybernetic threats, or embodiments of our desires?




Digital Prints. I was introduced to MacPaint in 1990, with Illustrator and Photoshop soon thereafter. I use computers as the modern-day equivalent of scissors, glue and crayons. A “computerized” look is less important than the ease with which computers allow collage and photomanipulation.


Screenprint and Acrylic on Canvas. An extension of my digital practice, screenprinting allows me to manipulate photos viscerally, and acrylic glazing allows me to add unique hues with handmade brushstrokes. Reproduction lets me repeat the same image with different colors, inviting you to consider the effects of variation.


Woodcuts. A traditional printmaking technique, low-tech and visceral. I draw an image onto a panel of wood, then carve it, coat it with ink, and run it under a heavy cylinder against a sheet of paper. I carve with rough strokes, and paint afterward with bright watercolor. I often start with a digital composition, but after carving, the image becomes a new work entirely. Examples: Cycladic Rider 1; Legend; Huile sur Toile.


I was born in 1968, in New York State. I have a BS in Electrical Engineering, an MS in Computer Science. I became a full-time artist in 2011, after serving over a decade as the CTO of a small internet software company.






Sawyer Yard Revealed , The Silos, Houston, Texas, Jacob Spacek, juror
Images Included: Canon (2006)


Selected Works from the Artists of Sawyer Yards, Silver Street Studios, Houston, Texas, Clint Willour, juror

Images Included: Borne (2006)




The Big Show, Lawndale Art Center, Houston, Texas (George Scheer, juror)
Images Included: Jewel of Jeopardy (Leviathan #2) (Color Test Proof) (2015)



PrintHouston: PrintTX, Nicole Longnecker Gallery, Houston Texas. Karen Kunc, Exhibition Juror.

 Images Included: Huile sur Toile (Blue Reduction) (2013)





35 Years of Printmaking, Glassell School, Houston Texas. Patrick Palmer, curator.

Images Included: Madonna & Child (2006)




The Big Show, Lawndale Art Center, Houston, Texas. Rita Gonzales, juror.
Images Included: Leonardo Had Only One Question (2007) [study for LA Shows are Cool (2013)]


New American Talent: 22, Arthouse, Austin, Texas. Anne Ellegood, juror.
Images Included: Structure (2006), Trance (2006)


Positive/Negative Twenty-Two, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee. Toby Kambs, juror.
Images Included: Lantern (2006)




The Big Show, Lawndale Art Center, Houston, Texas. Dominic Molon, juror.
Images Included: Quince (2006), Cress (2006)





EXU Magazine, Robert Boyd
Images Included: Jewel of Jeopardy (Leviathan #2) (Color Test Proof) (2015)





Lawndale's The Big Show opens, Kim Hughes, Houston Chronicle, July 20, 2006
(quoted in article; artworks published in accompanying photograph)




2011 - Left software industry, began art full-time.
2004 - 2006 - Coursework at Glassell School of Art (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston TX)
1994 - M.S. in Computer Science (concentrating on Artificial Intelligence) (Champaign IL)
1992 - B.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering (Boston MA)