Most people see the world around them in one continuous scene, not really thinking about the milliseconds that make up the minutes, hours and days of a life.
From morning, to mid-day, to night-time, most of us move from one setting to the next in one long steady-cam shot.
John Bukaty sees life, and the special events it’s made of, in distinct moments. He sees things one frame at a time. Whether it’s the enjoyable chaos of a music festival, the intense competition of a college basketball game, or a tender moment at a family event, Bukaty sees them all, in portraits.
And like a distortion pedal that adds fuzziness and growl to a guitar, Bukaty translates these singular sights onto a canvas using a self-taught method of blurred lines and vibrant colors.
Bukaty was born and raised in Kansas City, Mo. The son of an NFL player and stay-at-home mom, he grew up drawing, in mud at first, and then with paper and pencil. He worked diligently on his drawing in grade school and learned as much as he could, on his own, and also with the help of his mother who took him regularly to local museums so he could study the work of the masters up close.
His restless energy translated perfectly into football and he became a standout in high school and college. Racked with permanent injuries during his college years, he quit football, and college, and decided on a life in business, just as his father had done after his NFL career was over.
A concert in Colorado changed his mind about his business career. He knew he had to get back to art. He started painting again and at the same time started a weekly live show at a local brewpub. The Thursday night event grew, and it eventually led to other live painting commissions.
Encouraged by friends and fans, and looking for a bigger stage, Bukaty moved to his beloved Colorado and became the Rock n’ Roll Painter. Denver’s location and rabid music fans have made it a favorite among touring musicians of all genres, and Bukaty quickly became a popular fixture at local concerts.
He’s done portraits of Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson, Widespread Panic and Blues Traveler. Bukaty’s work is collected by prominent actors, musicians, and athletes including Matthew McConaughey, Penelope Cruz, J.J. Cale, John Popper, Billy Butler, and Coach Bill Self. Corporate collectors include Western Union, Chipotle and Comcast.
Bukaty went to India in 2009 and created 100 paintings in 100 days and his travels and works were recorded in a short film documentary.
Bukaty donates his time and talent as often as he can. Numerous organizations have been benefactors of his work including the YMCA, Children’s Mercy Hospital, HALO Foundation, and Tipatinas Foundation.
In 2012, Bukaty created Kartma (a fusion of the words karma and art), a philanthropic organization designed to combine art, philanthropy and community. Bukaty captures dynamic moments at live events on canvas, and then donates his original creations. Bukaty paints people in their times, and in their places. He paints them in the middle of loud, busy and cherished events. He paints to preserve moments, forever etched in color on canvas, and in the minds of attendees. He creates beautiful and durable pieces of history for the ages.