John Fraser – Painter

Early career
John Fraser was born in Vancouver, Canada, in 1938, where he spent his childhood. As a young man, Fraser left Canada to travel in Europe and India, before settling for a period in London, England, where he studied at the Regent Street Polytechnic (1958-1960). The rich imagery of Fraser’s work draws deeply from these childhood impressions of the West Coast and the experiences of his early travels.

In 1963 Fraser returned to Canada, where he collaborated with the architects McCarter and Nairn on projects of Art Applied to Architecture. Among Fraser’s early commissions was a series of murals for the University of British Columbia, which included a collaboration with celebrated Canadian artist George Norris to create a brick mosaic embedded within the exterior wall of the university’s engineering department.

Based in Venezuela for years, his public commissions include a large metal door for the Teresa Carreño Theatre in Caracas, and a mural for the internacional airport in Porlamar.  He now resides in Victoria BC.

Magic realism
Since 1988 Fraser has worked uniquely through the medium of paint, establishing himself as a significant figure within the movement of magic realism. The enthusiastic wonder and whimsy in his work show strong affinities with Latin American magic realism. Critic Paul Varnell says, “Fraser’s style is fully representational but manages to trick the mind by combining discordant objects. His paintings are challenging, intellectually intriguing, even fun.” As the artist says of himself, “I have a debt to Magritte and was blessed as myopic, or was it astigmatic?”

Public recognition
Fraser’s work has been exhibited to critical acclaim at numerous shows in the UK, Spain, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, and the United States and  many of his paintings can be found among notable public and private collections in Europe and the Americas.


1938 April 27 in Vancouver, Canada

1958-60 Attends the Regent Street Polytechnic, London, England

1961 First individual exhibit at Teddy Hall, Cambridge and at St Mary’s, Oxford, England

1963-70 Works on Art applied to Architecture in Vancouver, Canada and executes carved doors for the National Trust Bank and murals for the University of British Columbia (U.B.C.) with George Norris, Vancouver, Canada

1970-1972 Moves to Spain and exhibits individually at the Palacio Municipal in Malaga, Spain

1972 Establishes his residence in Venezuela

1978 Creates with designer Erling Oloe the metallic door in the foyer of Teresa Carreno Theatre, receiving an honourable mention in the XXXVI Exhibit Arturo Michelena in Valencia, Venezuela

1982 Designs and executes for the Government of the state of Nueva Esparta various projects including a large mural for the Airport at Porlamar, Venezuela

1988 From this date on is dedicated exclusively to painting

XVI Annual Arts Exhibit Bijoux Wizo “Latin America”, Caracas, Venezuela

XLIX Visual Arts Exhibit, Arturo Michelena, Valencia, Venezuela

Conac 1991 Exhibit, “Art and City”, Bogota, Mexico City and Washington, D.C.

Collective Exhibit, “Convergencies”, Minotauro Gallery, Caracas, Venezuela

1992 Individual Exhibit at Felix Gallery, Caracas, Venezuela

Project Venezuela, Living Earth, “Art and Environment”. Exhibit at the Science Museum, Caracas, Venezuela, and the Natural History Museum, London, England

Mars 1992 Exhibit (Minotauro Gallery), Paris, France

XVII Annual Art Exhibit, Bijoux Wizo, Caracas, Venezuela

1993 Group Exhibit at Minotauro Gallery, Caracas, Venezuela

First Biennial “Camille Pisarro”, Caracas, Venezuela

1994 International Art Show, Caracas, Venezuela

Art Miami, U.S.A.

Group Exhibit at Minotauro Gallery, Caracas, Venezuela

Banap Exhibit, Caracas, Venezuela

1995 Art Miami, U.S.A.

Second Biennial “Camille Pisarro”, Caracas, Venezuela

1996 Individual Exhibit at Felix Gallery, F.I.A., Caracas, Venezuela

1997 Individual Exhibit at Alonso Arte Gallery, Bogota, Columbia

1999 Individual Exhibit at Zazzing Gallery, Miami, U.S.A.

2001 Art Miami, U.S.A.

2002 Individual Exhibit, Portals Gallery, Chicago, U.S.A.

2003 Buschlen Mowatt Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

2005 Individual Exhibit, Portals Gallery, Chicago, U.S.A.

2008 Portals Gallery, Chicago, U.S.A.


His work is in the Ralli Museum of Art in Argentina and in private collections in Scotland, England, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, France, Colombia, Venezuela, U.S.A. and Canada.

John Fraser - A Souvenir - Oil on canvas 100 x 81cm 2008

‘I have a debt to Magritte and was blessed as myopic, or was it astigmatic?’ John Fraser