Saatchi Yates

Will St. John

13th September - 22nd October

This September, Saatchi Yates will present the debut solo exhibition of New York artist Will St. John, opening Wednesday 13 September and on view until Sunday 22 October.

Will St. John spent years studying Renaissance painting techniques in Florence and around Europe. He brings these skills to his community of Bohemian New Yorkers. With a rigorous artistic style and approach to image-making, St. John's meticulously craed paintings exude delicately fierce character. Reminding us of the French Rococo tradition, his works echo the genre's hallmark traits: a whimsical treatment of sensual themes, deployment of rich and intricate brushwork, and an infusion of pastel hues.

St. John paints Drag Queens, Trans models, and pairs them alongside antique porcelain figurines, trinkets and phantoms in his eclectic world rooted in classical painting. Some of his portraits he even renders into porcelain statues, snuff boxes and lockets, freezing them in time.

St. John’s paintings reveal a refinement combined with a pursuit of breaking free from the classical realism in which they reflect. Trained in the techniques of classical realism during his formative years in Italy, St. John has since ventured into new territories under the influence of the contemporary New York art scene.

During a triumphant exhibition last year, hosted by actor and long-term friend, Adam Driver, St. John showcased a series of portraits that captivated New York’s star-studded art enthusiasts. Notably, St. John chose prominent trans-gender figures, including actor Hari Nef, gallerist and musician Ruby Zarsky, and actress Patricia Black, as models for these captivating portraits.