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John Cerney  Salinas, CA


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About John


John Cerney is a Salinas, California native whose artwork can best be described as ‘giant cut-out art’, ordinarily viewed from the comfort of your automobile. For the sake of a title that people can relate to, he calls himself a muralist, but Cerney found out years ago that painting on a wall was restricting to the effect he was looking for.

After earning an art degree from Cal State Long Beach in 1984, Cerney worked in Southern California as a portrait artist, rendering finely detailed pencil drawings. His patrons were television producers and writers, as well as such clients as the late comedian John Candy and hockey star Wayne Gretzky.

Wanting to reach a larger audience, Cerney would relocate to Central California periodically and convince a farmer to allow him to paint a mural on his barn, just for practice. This ultimately led to commissions from local business owners to paint their walls. Finally realizing that he could earn a living painting murals and gain a wider audience, he moved back to Salinas in 1991 to concentrate on his wall paintings.

The evolution of the cut-out paintings was slow, with a hand sticking out above a fence line as a start, then trying a complete automobile in front of a wall, and finally to the feeling that the wall was unnecessary and that the cut-outs could stand on their own. The landscape behind the figures became the background.

As more of his work was being displayed alongside highways and busy streets, Cerney realized that he had to start painting the figures and scenes larger, so that they could be ‘taken in’ from a greater distance before coming upon them. In 1995, he created a series of 10 large fieldworkers (18 feet tall) for a local farmer who wanted to pay tribute to the agricultural labor force. Cerney found his ‘blueprint’ and was soon branching out and putting together group scenes, often telling a story while using a Norman Rockwell-like sense of humor.

Along the way, Cerney was introduced to another artist who he collaborates with on many of his large projects, the Korean-born Dong Sun Kim. Alone and with Mr. Kim, their work has been displayed in many states in the West and throughout California, and featured in numerous magazines, including National Geographic and Sunset.


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John appears in the following Top 10 lists


'2008' edition

'California' edition


10 of 18 reactions displayed


I have often called Salinas "Home to the Giant Farmers!" as a kid. Whenever we drove through this area I would shout out "Look! We're in the land of giants!" But as a public arts major and having grown out of the original awe, I'm newly fascinated with these and just recently took the time to figure out how and why they were here.

I am a military aviation artist living in Gilroy, CA and have admired John's work for years while driving in central California. I always meant to find out who was doing this amazing art. I'm glad that I finally did! Continued success, your artwork is amazing!

Super-realism is great for murals. Such large scale art is wonderful for large spaces (particularly this artist). I'm not sure I'd put it in a gallery, -unless- that gallery is set up for expansive work.

I'm not a big fan of super-realism. This is interesting work. However, I'm not sure what the artist is trying to say. If his message is no-message, I have to ask why is it so representational and surreal in his content?

Will watch for more on Mr. Cerny.

Philip, curator, VA/DC

I've seen these murals on highway 46 and on 101 and often wondered who the artist was. I'm glad I subscribed to this on IGoogle. My girlfriend and I just finished a small mural on the side of our barn. I have a pic posted on this website. This is Awesome!!

but....is it art?

This is one of those pieces of art I would love to just see randomly out in the world.
It would make my day.

how can there be no comments on this guy? Guess the audience here is clearly kid friendly. Its super cool.

nver have my eyes cried of their own accordance and will, but apparently the impossible can happen

wow

this a very strange and inspiring piece of art. if my grandchildren saw it, they would be awed. If my wife saw it,she would cry because of the profound beauty of the piece, and if my mother saw it, she would cry with my wife.

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