Copyright John Gerstner. All Rights Reserved.

About John Gerstner

Artist Statement:

I strive for paintings that are raw, energetic, and speak to human experience.
My painting process is to be playful and intuitive. I start with no set idea, goal or direction. I try to keep my conscious mind from getting in the way.
I begin by disturbing the white canvas with marks, patterns, colors and often, texture. I then look for the hint of an image that can be developed. With patient observation, the canvas invariably speaks and gives me direction.
I would be happy to have my art seen as a collision at the intersection of photography, painting and sculpture. I believe it is at this multi-media intersection that “reality” and “fiction” becomes most interesting, and sometimes clear. My images begin with the beauty I find in life, but never end there. Just as in life, the beauty in my work is bittersweet … adorned with ambiguity, mystery and conflict. Alluring but abstract. I strive for images that raise questions about life and the human condition. I am questioning the truth of beauty.

About me:

I guess it’s true that if you live long enough, you get to do a lot of things. Thus, being an inveterate dabbler, I have played in a lot of playgrounds. They include being an internal communications and intranet manager, consultant, marketer, website developer, video producer, book author, magazine editor, photo-journalist, conference producer, radio announcer and public speaker. And now a partner with my wife of Insureous Health Solutions, a life, health and financial products brokerage.  In the midst of this work I have raised six children and traveled to 30 countries on five continents.

I spent the bulk of my professional career at John Deere where I held a number of diverse roles including launching John Deere’s internal communication program and intranet, serving as the company’s first manager of environmental and safety communications and authoring an award-winning coffee-table history book, Genuine Value: The John Deere Journey.

I cut my teeth as a writer, photographer, editor and internal communications manager at John Deere, and this carried over after hours. I began to push the photo-journalism I was doing into a serious interest in photography and video as art. I wound up earning M.A. degrees in Journalism and Video Art/Multimedia from the University of Iowa and I continue to work (or play) in the areas of photo and video art to this day. You can see some of my photo-paintings and videos on this site.

My professional profile/resume on Linkedin


  • Video Art & Multimedia, MA, University of Iowa
  • Journalism & Mass Communication, MA, University of Iowa
  • Journalism, BS, Kansas State University


    • Artist Grant, Quad City Arts, Rock Island, IL 2002, 2001, 2000, 1997, 1992, 1991
    • United Way of the Quad Cities Photo Contest, 2nd Prize 1995
    • Quad City Showcase, Davenport Art Museum, 3rd place 1986
    • Artlink Contemporary Artspace, Fort Wayne, IN, award winner 1986
    • Gallery of the Old Post Office, Dayton, OH, award winner (2) 1986
    • Photo Metro Magazine, 4th Annual Contest, San Francisco (CA) 1986
    • Rock Island fine Arts Exhibition, 2nd place 1985
    • Pictures For Organizations book, Ragan Publishing, Chicago 1982
    • Creativity Annual (Gloria Steinem portrait) 1980
    • Gold Quill, International Association of Business Communicators 1978
  • Honor Award, Photojournalism, Chicago Business Communicators 1978


    • Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition 2002
    • Rock Island Fine Arts Exhibition, (Honorable Mention) 2001
    • United Neighbors, Davenport, IA (solo) 1996-2001
    • Art from the Neighborhood, Quad City Arts, Rock Island, IL (group) 1996
    • Rock Island fine Arts Exhibition, (group) 1996, 1994, 1993
    • Photo-Link Internet Website (solo) 1995
    • Quad-City Arts Council (2-person) 1994
    • Artefino Gallery, Charlotte, N.C. 1994
    • NAACP Art Exhibition, Davenport, IA (group) 1993
    • University of Iowa Hospitals, Iowa City, IA (solo) 1993
    • Corps of Engineers, Arsenal Clock Tower, Rock Island, IL (group) 1993
    • CSPS Gallery, Cedar Rapids, IA (group) 1992
    • Essence of Diversity, King Center, Rock Island, IL (group) 1992
    • A. Allen Albert Gallery, Palm Desert, CA 1992
    • Performing Arts Gallery, Davenport, IA (solo) 1995,1993, 1991
    • Percival Gallery, Des Moines, IA (group) 1990
    • Beverly Hills (CA) Antique Auto Show Benefit (group) 1989
    • Mitchell Museum, Mount Vernon, Il (2-person) 1989
    • Quad City Arts Council, Rock Island, IL (3-person) 1988
    • Governor’s State University, University Park, IL (2-person) 1988
    • Highland Community College, Freeport, IL (solo) 1987
    • SPE Photography Conference, University of Iowa (group) 1979
  • Davenport Art Museum, Davenport, IA (group) 1978