John De La O was born in 1982 in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He attended Fort Hamilton High School. While in High School, John pursued art by attending the Saturday program at the Cooper Union School of Art where he experienced his first art shows to the public within the academic realm. During the summer time, John also attended various life drawing and printmaking classes at the Art Students League. After John graduated from High School, he decided to take a two year hiatus and worked as an intern at the Marlborough Gallery in Manhattan. During these years John started working on his own creations and developed his first paintings. John decided to go back to school and pursued an Associates Degree in Fine Arts at Kingsborough Community College.
In 2002 John had his first art exhibition outside of the academic realm in an alternative space called the Laundromat in Williamsburg. In this exhibition John displayed a large number of small paper paintings/drawings which dealt with death, sexuality and middle class values. The theme of the exhibition was nicknamed “Wee Works”. In 2004 John decided to continue pursuing his art ambition and attended the School of Visual Arts as an Illustration Major. John was awarded the Silias Rhodes Scholarship. During his time at SVA John had the opportunity to study closely under the guidance of the Head Chair of Illustration Thomas Woodruf, a well known and respected painter and Illustrator whose carefully designed assignments helped John to better organize his themes. John starts to create a series of alternating portraits of celebrities such as Lenny Bruce, Frances Farmer, and Jean Seaberg. This series illustrates the destructive and malignant forces of fame. He then begins his black and white ink works on paper depicting the landscape of his hometown Bay Ridge with imagery taken from photos he took as reference.
While attending SVA; John, some of his classmates and a number of NYC based artists had a few exhibitions with the Bird Beak Collective at the Headquarters Studio in downtown Manhattan. At these exhibitions John displays more drawing based works and debuts his larger and bolder Illustration Series which consists of large gouache and watercolor works on paper with imagery culled from cartoons, old children’s books and comic books. Upon graduation in 2007, John worked as a cashier at the Brooklyn Museum for a spell while still painting and displaying his work in group shows. John exhibited his Celebrity Pictures at Supreme Trading, a bar and gallery space in East Williamsburg. During this time John embarks on some of his most ambitious works such as his Film Noir Series, which consists of works on canvas with imagery from pulp movie posters and black and white movie stills. He also begins his Girl Pictures, which are drawing based works on handmade paper with images from cartoons, product logos, and pornography. John soon rediscovers themes with his Collage Girl Pictures, which take a more solid and realistic approach to the same subject matter. They are collages from various media that John projects onto large paper, which he then renders in gouache, watercolor and acrylic paint. They deal with the subjects of consumption, sexuality, the media and pop culture in general. His first one man show is a private, invite only affair at 555 W.23rd Street, where he sells several paintings, and displays his most recent work. This show and several other sales are arranged by his manager, Claudia Mollo. John continues to live in Brooklyn. He continues to elaborate and build on the themes of his most recent work. John is constantly determined to reach new heights of creativity and explore his boundless imagination which he portrays in each one of his new paintings.