Get to Know the Artists: John Hylton

May 12, 2017

Get to Know the Artists
Art in the Arboretum: Environmental Installations

Several of the artists participating in Art in the Arboretum: Environmental Installations shared their personal histories and thoughts on art and being an artist and responded to the questions below.

John Hylton
john hyltonLocal artist John Hylton describes his work: “It tends to lead me into other cultures-- private cultures made mostly of my interior space. These are “thought things,” as argued by philosopher Hannah Arendt about works of art. I’m creating objects to tell a new story about cosmology, the way the ancients of North America, the British Isles, and the Oceanic areas tracked the cosmos and told stories of the stars. I am exploring blending contemporary concerns with what I see as related structures and ideas from the earliest days of civilization. Among these concerns and interests are the timeless mystery of the ruins and artifacts of the ancients, architecture and engineered structures, and cosmology of the modern era. In part I approach this by maintaining close human contact with the materials I use. This way of using material comes from my interest in archeology. I’m working with tactile issues that are imbued with a powerful and primal sensitivity. It is my struggle to reconcile these disparate but fundamentally related forces, which have influenced and continue to fuel my present work.”

View more of Hylton’s art at

sunwatchersFor Art in the Arboretum: Environmental Installations, Hylton created Sunwatchers after he found the sited grouping of native limestone, which sparked thoughts of ancient solar calendars of Europe to mind. He has been doing work that has been a melding of science and art for a number of years so took elements from some of that work and combined it with the hints of old ruins that the limestone suggested.

What person, place, or event has been a primary influence on your work and why? As a young kid, my family owned a raw piece of land in southern Ohio that we would go hike on. On the way there, we would stop at the Serpent Mound and have a picnic. Seeing the earthwork from another time really set my imagination off. This wonder about other eras and other cultures along with a deep love of science continues to provide a narrative for my work.

Adjectives that best describe you as an artist/person: A Neolithic story-teller telling stories about modern science.

Adjectives that best describe your work: Primal, inviting, tactile

  wolf   moonwatcher   Hare Studying an Einstein-Rosen Bridge
                      Wolf                                               Moonwatcher                           Hare Studying an
                                                                                                                                   Einstein-Rosen Bridge

If you had a personal philosophy/motto, what would it be? Look up, be part of the cosmos.

What might surprise someone about you/your work? How the viewer becomes part of the environment of the work.

What are your thoughts on the Art in the Arboretum: Environmental Installations exhibition? A great arboretum combined with great art—it should be wonderful!