Artist John "Witzel" Walters

By:Amy Holtcamp


Name: John "Witzel" Walters
Medium: Acrylic Paint on Recycled Materials

Born and bred in South Carolina, painter John Walters takes his inspiration from nature. His paintings depict the ethereal, underwater world that he has gotten to know as a commercial scuba diver, and the natural world around him in what he calls “the most beautiful state in the union.” He lives in Pawleys​ Island.

Q: How long have you been painting? What do you think led you to become an artist?
I've always been artistic, beginning as a child with a stick, drawing in the sand. But I've been creating income with my art for only a couple of years. Being an artist, I think, is just a matter of seeing the beauty that is all around. It's not difficult. You just have to slow down. Look. Really look. Then look a bit harder. Breathe it all in. Then try and replicate that beauty in some form. ?

Life, happenstance, led me to become an artist, much like a river creates a canyon. It's this constant flow and the results of that movement that form art.

Q: How would you describe your work?
Funky cool. ?

Q: I believe you just won your first award for your art. Where was that? What did that feel like?
I did win my first art show. The show was Arts International Festival and was held in Flore​nce at Francis Mario​n​ University. The prize was a blue ribbon, $600 and a pat on the back. This is an annual event and the second one I’ve been to. I was happy and proud.

Q: I just love the way that you depict sea life and the natural world in your paintings. What is it about nature, animals, water, etc. that makes you want to paint?
The most beautiful things are found in nature. So why look anywhere else? I grew up in the most beautiful state in the union, South Carolina.

I was then fortunate enough to discover scuba diving. This sport allowed me access to secretive underwater art galleries. This constantly changing life and death struggle, light and darkness, surface and abyss, beauty tempered with respect that can only be experienced after you've made the efforts required. In other words, you can't purchase tickets to this art show. You have to quit talking about it and actually do something. Movement, it requires movement. ?

I lived on a ship for over a year between two islands in the Caribbean, the Turks and Caicos Islands, specifically. I was there working as a commercial diver looking for a 16th century shipwreck. A treasure hunter. While looking for and later working on this wreck I was underwater for eight hours a day, six days a week. I hope it goes without saying I saw some beautiful things.?

?Q: What do you do when you are not painting?
When I'm not painting, I'm selling, traveling, marketing or thinking about what to paint next. It's all consuming. But, when I do have a spare moment, I enjoy diving, boating, fishing, or almost anything ending in "".?

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