1953 Born in Italy
1964 Emigrated to Canada
1969-1972 Dundas Valley School of art, Life Drawing, Dundas, ON
1973-1977 Hon, BFA, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON
1978-1979 B.Ed., University of Toronto, ON
1983-1986 OCAD, Life drawing, Toronto, ON
2018 Ontario Arts Council Exhibition Grant
2018 RMG Art Lab Residency & Exhibition, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa ON
1977 Eagle Northright, Canadian Art Competition. Bursary to study art, Hamilton, ON
1978 W.A.A.C. Art Scholarship, Bursary to study art, Toronto, ON
1984 MacMaster University Museum Purchase, 1980, Hamilton, ON
Throughout his career John Di Leonardo has examined the concept of "Time and The Transience of Life" He has devised a methodology characterised by spontaneity, intuition and improvisation through the use of colour, line, text, and the human figure.
Di Leonardo began his career in the 1980's with his series "Ground Zero." In these visceral expressionistic works on paper and 3-D box-shaped canvases he explored the nuclear power concerns at the time.
From 1989 onward Di Leonardo began investigating the healing and destructive forces of nature, with the series "Grand-Mother."
The heavily textured 3-D canvases deployed techniques mixing earth, sand, pigment on cut and folded canvases.
From 2000, the "Book of Hours" series evolved, considering the nature of art, country, progress, man. The big questions are explored through the use of quotidian images, text, bold colours and mixed media techniques.
In 2010 a "Prayers" series emerged exploring the notion and relationship of power, politics and prayer. Di Leonardo deployed a white on white glazing technique with the layering of text and colour.
From 2015 he began researching the concept of time itself with the series "Seconds" Spontaneous gestural outbursts that challenge the body's performance through seconds of time.
2017-2018 - Di Leonardo's more recent series is "MIRROR / MIRROR"
Transience, beauty and the conceptualization of the nude body within Canada’s artistic identity are key themes in John Di Leonardo’s current studio practice. His figurative images oscillate between abstraction and realism.
“My work explores questions of the nude image as a contentious landscape in the history of Canadian art, and how its tradition as object of desire and shame informs the trajectory of our social constructs, values and identity.”
John Di Leonardo sees his paintings and drawings as objects of meditation. "The Arts like prayer evolve to fill man's instinctive need for an inner spiritual life," he says, "It is my hope, of transforming some heightened sense of self and the world in those viewers who take the time to meditate these works.