John BW (1)


Since early childhood, John Robert Siberell, a Des Moines native, has channeled his creative gifts into many forms.  Early on, his mother, a watercolorist, nurtured his early experimentation with color and shape and his interest in art grew.  His parents however, encouraged him to seek professional training at a college level. Majoring in Landscape Architecture at Iowa State University, he found both a vocation and a practical application for his many talents.  “I often say that I earned my degree by drawing myself through school.”  Further directions to move his creative gifts into the mainstream took many unusual forms.  He spent time as a designer for a Dallas architectural firm creating plans for desert regions of the Southwestern US and the Saudi Arabian government.  From there, John’s whimsical side led him to design playground equipment for the fast food industry, uniting form and function for pleasure.  After forming his own design firm, Berell Incorporated, he was hired to create Western style living spaces in Japan, designing residential neighborhoods using American concepts, yet complementing the Asian culture and surroundings.

John’s art reflects all of these influences. Architectural forms and patterns are seen in much of his work, creating spatiality, structure, and movement.  His pieces are deceptively simple. “I’ve taken a pencil to get an image on paper. But once the image is on paper, I only have to add the form, rhythms and color patterns. It’s totally freeing.” He also appreciates the subtle relationship between instrument and surface. “The finish and weight of a paper is just as important as the medium. I try to find the right match.”

From his work in Japan, John’s use of color and metallic media imitates an oriental flair of bold and non-traditional patterns. These patterns re-appear more complex with the intensity of his colors. He often mixes media, using paint sticks, charcoal, or watercolor to add highlights and emphasis. The result is both energetic and purposeful.  Siberell’s work is indicative of his many talents and passion for design.