While Nieto maintains that his art “is the result of an emotional involvement with my subject matter rater than a cerebral one”, his powerful evocative paintings reveal a seamless blend if instinct and keen intelligence. His deft handling of Western motifs-including Native American tribal representatives, warriors, and ceremonial dancers, as well as legendary frontiersman or indigenous wildlife- demonstrates why these icons still loom large in the national consciousness. Wielding his brush with precision and control, Nieto invests each figure with a mesmerizing presence.
His personal philosophy plays a large role in his approach to art. “I employ subject matter that is familiar and express it from my own perspective,” he explains. Nieto’s extraordinary ability to project the essential core of his subject-viewed within the context of his own uncompromising vision-accounts for the seemingly impossible task of communicating the stately qualities of these figures without any trace of condescension or hyperbole.
Heralded both for his muscular style and his technical virtuosity, Nieto has won legions of admirers in the U.S. and elsewhere. An artist of established international reputation, his work has been exhibited in Europe, Japan, Latin America, and Africa, in addition to his annual shows in Sante Fe, new York and Palm Springs. In 1981 his work was exhibited at the Salon D’Automne/Grand Palais in Paris, France. His work is also featured in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Wildlife Art. The subject of two books and countless articles, Nieto has attained a commanding stature by virtue of consistently strong output.
In 1994, Nieto received New Mexico’s prestigious Governor’s Award for achievement in the Arts. He has served on the Advisory Board of the Wheelwright Museum in Sante Fe, the Advisory Board of Native American Preparatory School, and served as the Regent at his alma mater, Southern Methodist University in Dallas where he received his Bachelor of Arts Degree.
John Nieto’s roots run deep in New Mexico and his ancestral birthplace for over 300 years.