John was born into a large family of six children in Lome, Togo, West Africa. As far as he can remember, he has always been painting and creating. He began his work drawing and creating sculpture. With his father being an entrepreneur, he was able to use the building scraps to create small sculptures as he was growing up. By the time he was in high school, he had started to experiment with mixed media and collage.
The artist’s work has been shown in many places in Togo and neighboring countries. A few places include the city art center in his hometown of Lome and the largest hotel in the country, Hotel Sarakawa. He then went on to show and sell his work in Paris, France. John moved to the Twin Cities in November 2003. He has continued to paint and show his work since he has been here. He has had his work shown in many galleries locally and nationally.
John has almost always worked in the abstract. He has done several realistic works throughout his career, but he was always drawn back to the abstraction of life. “Art is a spirit,” is a statement he lives by. His work is created using dry pigment, sand, and dust and anything else around that inspires him. He does a lot of collage and sewing in his paintings. He would love to explain more of his work, but he doesn’t think art is something you can explain. “You just have to feel it. It is a spirit,” he states. “Painting is like dreaming … I don’t choose my dreams, they choose me. I don’t decide what I paint, everything comes to me. It is more spiritual than realistic. Painting is my spirit, it is my soul. One day, John Olympio will die, but his paintings will stay … They are my spirit.”