John R. Anderson finds 73 Art Agency

The Tower Colorado Skybox art gallery exhibition, a James Bond themed show hosted by 73 Art Agency, on Bellaire Street in Denver, displays the original work of seven featured artists. One of them who’s name is John R. Anderson, also known as “the man with the lyrical hand.”

Anderson’s main wall at the Skybox exhibition: “The Man with the Lyrical Hand”
Photo by Lauren Zurcher

Although Anderson is just starting to gain more popularity, he has many admirers. Ronnie Landfield, an American Abstract Painter, says that Anderson’s paintings need to be seen by a wider public; they are that good.

A young artist, who has a great appreciation for Anderson’s work and studies it regularly, comments on one of his paintings at the show.

“You can really see his first layer,” she says, “and then he comes in with the flow, and that’s where he drips paint onto the canvas.”

Painting described by young artist and admirer
Photo by Lauren Zurcher

“Then, after, he comes in and does what he calls ‘simplification’.”

That’s when Anderson comes in with lighter colors to simplify the patterns. His paintings are abstract, and he has a very unique style that many people are fascinated by. Anderson just doesn’t have the expertise in selling his art. That’s where 73 Art Agency comes in.

The co-founders, who like to go by 7 and 3, often talk about their purpose as an agency and the value of art in general.

Although art is subjective to everyone, essentially, 3 says, “art sells itself.” 

Founded in 2015 and based in Colorado, 73 Art Agency aims to bring amazing art to the general public and help artists, like Anderson, with visibility.Their motto as stated on their website is “develop, support, preserve, and promote the creative works of emerging artists worldwide.”

They hope to keep original art alive and celebrated in every home, “especially in an ever increasing generic world where it seems like whatever city you go to it all looks the same,” says 3. 

Anderson’s work is exceptional and allows for this to happen. The agency was lucky to stumble upon the unique artist, who earned his bachelor of fine arts in 1958 at the University of Denver.

“It was like finding a needle in a haystack,” says 3.

7 and 3 describe how they discovered the artist back in June of 2017. Anderson’s niece, who attended one of the agency’s first shows, asked 7 and 3 if they would be interested in representing her uncle’s work in South Dakota.

“We had kind of imagined not a very strong artist,” says 3.

However, having nothing to lose, they decided to go anyway.

Anderson is kind of a recluse as the agents describe him.

3 gives us the short story of what they uncovered: “it was basically an 87 year old recluse in South Dakota that hadn’t shown his art for 50 years. We went up to look at his art and discovered that it was these amazing, huge lyrical abstraction pieces.”

Setting up for the exhibition at the Skybox
Photo by Lauren Zurcher

Anderson’s art remained hidden for a long time. Fifty years ago when he was living in Mexico, he showed his art — and at that point abstract art was not something that was very well received. In fact, Anderson was sent hate mail; someone had written him a poem about how horrible his art was. He went back to South Dakota to continue painting and developing his passion.

A big part of 73 Art Agency is that they aim to provide their artists with the support they need to reach their dreams. Anderson’s ultimate goal is to show his art at the Guggenheim in New York City. However, this is not as easy as he would like it to be. An artist has to go through many steps — they need to show in local museums, show in various cities, and show in galleries — to build a strong résumé. In addition, having a following is crucial in order to be even considered. A museum won’t even look at an artist’s work unless the artist has had previous solo shows, group shows, and sales.

So 73 Art Agency, exclusively representing Anderson, has to make all this happen before he can reach his ultimate goal of going “back east,” as he says it. 

7 says that they are “ready to do anything for this to happen.” 

During the exhibition at the Skybox
Photo by Lauren Zurcher

In addition to 73 Art Agency’s previous shows that Anderson has been featured in, they are now looking into possibly exhibiting his work at the South Dakota Art Museum.

The curator of the museum came to Colorado to view Anderson’s art and absolutely fell in love with his work; she could not believe that she did not know him as an artist in South Dakota.

“Hopefully that will pan out,” says 3, “so that’ll be a stepping stone to more events.”

What an inspiring story; hundreds of beautiful pieces of art — that have been hidden in a house in South Dakota for the past 50 plus years — are resurfaced by a Colorado-based art agency, which happens to be where the artist completed his art studies. John R. Anderson came full circle; time to continue his journey as an emerging artist. 

73 Art Agency logo
courtesy of 73 Art Agency

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