SULPHUR — Two cousins from Sulphur, two genres of visual art, that’s the “Jack John Exhibit” opening at the Henning Cultural Center today, Aug. 15.
Jack Amuny is a graphic designer and painter. Mark John is a photographer. They have exhibited before at the Henning House and have selected new work for the current show, to run through Sept. 19.
They will greet museum goers at a free public reception 6-8 p.m. today.
John will exhibit his take on popular scenes around Louisiana and around the world.
“I try to see things from a different perspective, but my ultimate goal is to make the viewers feel like they are there,” he told the American Press.
His exhibit will have scenes from the French Quarter, plantation homes and “stuff from this area,” he said.
For example, one of his larger works is a photo of the Interstate 210 bridge taken from Prien Lake Park at sunset. The time exposure portrays the traffic on the bridge as streaks of light, and nature provides both brilliant and dark colors.
John has a dual career. He is a special-education teacher at LeBlanc Middle School and is owner of Studio Creations, a Sulphur photography studio. He grew up here and graduated in business management and went on to get a master’s in business administration from Louisiana State University.
To support himself while getting his photography work off the ground, he obtained a teaching degree and got a position at LeBlanc Middle. “I love photography, and I found that I love teaching,” he said.
He began playing around with a camera while in graduate school. He found that his pictures from a trip to Cozumel, Mexico, came out well. Then he photographed a wedding, and he was hooked.
Since then John has traveled in Italy, Greece, Turkey, Spain, France, England, China and Egypt, with camera in hand, and will have work from those trips in the exhibit.
One of his most momentous experiences was to be in Rome when Pope John Paul II died in 2005.
“There were hundreds of thousands of people crowded into St. Peter’s Square and around it,” he said. “You couldn’t even get on the Metro. I had to walk about two miles to get from my hotel to St. Peter’s. I was there when the lights were turned out in the papal residence, signaling the death of the pope.
“I was there for the first viewing of the late pope, and the procession filing by the casket was 24 hours long,” he said.
It was a great opportunity for some good shots, which are included in the exhibit.
Amuny’s current work is primarily designing corporate logos.
“I will have from 75 to 100 of my designs in the exhibit,” he said. They range from hand-drawn images to digital designs.
“I have been doing this that long — before digital designing came along,” he said.
In my corporate work, I hope you will know what the company is about immediately when you see the logo,” he said. “Sometimes you can’t do that, but that’s the goal.”
He will have six paintings in the show.
“That’s what I do to escape the work I usually do,” he said. “They are looser, abstract designs, a departure from the graphic work I do.”
His paintings start with ink drawings on gessoed Masonite. Then he goes over that with a layer of clear varnish, then more ink and color and more varnish.
“They are transparent, and you can see the multiple layers,” he said.
Amuny is a native of Sulphur. He graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana, now University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He worked in advertising in graphics for a time before moving to Houston to work as a freelance graphic designer. He established his firm, Art City, in 1971.
He has work exhibited the New York Art Directors Show, AIGA Graphic Design USA, Communication Arts, Houston Art Directors Club, Dallas 1 Show, Art Direction’s Creativity, Print America Graphic Design Annual and American Corporate Identity.
Amuny retired as director of the Wings Over Houston Airshow but remains a consultant for it.
If you go:
Henning Cultural Center is at 923 Ruth St. in Sulphur.
Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
Admission is free.