St. James Gallery-by-the-Sea reopens with a Swanson exhibition

John Swanson at work on one of his art pieces.
John Swanson at work on one of his art pieces.
(Christopher Romano, 2015)

St. James Gallery-by-the-Sea will reopen Friday, Sept. 10 with an exhibition of the work of well-known artist John August Swanson. A reception will take place that evening from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. The exhibition, which closes on Nov. 14, will be open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and by appointment. To schedule an appointment, call 858-459-3421, extension 103. St. James Gallery-by-the-Sea is located at St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, 743 Prospect Street, in La Jolla.

John August Swanson is a local artist from Los Angeles. He paints in oil, watercolor, acrylic and mixed media, and he is an independent printmaker of limited-edition archival art prints, serigraphs, lithographs, giclées and etchings. His art reflects the strong heritage of storytelling he inherited from his Mexican mother and Swedish father. Swanson’s narrative is direct and addresses our cultural roots, in his quest for self-discovery through visual images. He reaffirms universal human values, such as: caring for each other, acting as peacemakers, and something as simple as listening to others. From his representations of Bible stories to his urban scenes of everyday life, as well as his circus and music works, he uses his visual gift to share people’s stories, and to show us that which brings us together.

The Storm, the signature piece for the show. Visit
The Storm, the signature piece for the show.
( © 2020 by John August Swanson; Giclee, 19 3/4” x 29”)

Swanson said,“The images I make are not for “art’s sake,” nor are they for pure self-expression. I want to speak to you in everyday terms as if you were sitting beside me. Making art has called me to growth, and helped me to understand my journey. When I create art, I realize the images and ideas I have struggled with are not mine alone; but are common to all. When we are together, physically present or through art, we are in conversation with each other, with our history, and with all humanity.”

Artist John August Swanson
Artist John August Swanson
(Gabriela Dematteis, 2013)

Swanson’s art is represented in the permanent collections of many museums, including: The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museums of American History, American Art, and Air and Space; his works are in the print collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Harvard University’s Fogg Museum, the Tate Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. His painting, The Procession, is displayed in the Vatican Museums’ Collection of Modern Religious Art.

The paintings in the exhibition will be available for purchase. A portion of the proceeds from these sales will be donated to the Casa Cornelia Law Center, which provides pro bono legal services to victims of human and civil rights violations, particularly the indigent within the undocumented immigrant community. For more information, call St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church at 858-459-3421 or visit For more on Swanson, visit