Commissions

Many esteemed private and corporate collectors have commissioned John Banovich to share his personal experiences, ideals and extraordinary stories, through paint and canvas. His work possesses astounding detail and depth of theme, indicating experience with the subjects, creating more than the simple rendering of a likeness.


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"Bad Day" Commission

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1/4   John Banovich and Tom Siebel
10/18/2013

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2/4   Banovich with Dick and Liz Cheney
10/18/2013

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3/4   "Bad Day" 90 x 105 inches, Oil on Belgian Linen
10/18/2013

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4/4   Concept sketch for "Bad Day"
10/18/2013

“Bad Day”

90 x 105
Oil on Belgian Linen
Private Collector

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Tom Siebel, the founder of Siebel Systems, commissioned one of the most thrilling and powerful works Banovich has created, “Bad Day” to memorialize the elephant attack he barely survived. In August of 2009 Seibel was on safari in Tanzania when the attack occurred, the extensive injuries he sustained resulted in a long road to recovery. The background shows the African safari with a grazing herd of elephants; however the main focus is that of the hulking female elephant that is thundering toward the viewer with only a few feet to spare before contact. The piece transports the viewer to the last terrifying moments Seibel faced before the elephant struck. This huge painting carries the detail of a photo but with more action and dimension, as though the safari grasses as well as the stampeding elephant could break through the canvas at any moment.

“I know this area in the Serengeti’s western corridor well, and the human-animal conflict is a daily occurrence along the game reserve’s isolated border. I think Tom Siebel will not only be remembered for his many business and philanthropic accomplishments but as a guy who survived the un-survivable. Although he did nothing to provoke the elephant charge (however, his guide failed in keeping him safe) he was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time and the cow elephant was simply protecting her herd from a perceived threat. This painting will always be one of the most personal works I have ever created. It took extensive research to accurately portray the profound event that changed Tom’s life forever and the painting will tell the story for generations to come.”” – John Banovich

Banovich has created many paintings of elephants and African wildlife–though none with such a haunting back-story.  The artist spent considerable time researching and reviewing the attack scene, as well as photographs and videos of cow-elephant attacks, in order to accurately capture the hulking animal in action.

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12/27/2012

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12/27/2012

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12/27/2012

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12/27/2012

“Cold Air - Deep Powder”

72 x 168
Oil on Belgian Linen
Yellowstone Club, Big Sky, MT

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On December 27th, 2012 we unveiled "Cold Air-Deep Powder" at the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, MT. The club’s Warren Miller Lodge commissioned this detailed painting of a herd of bison. The vibrant and action-packed scene features the animals stampeding through deep snow with a massive framed size of 8’ x 16’, making it one of John Banovich’s largest paintings. “It’s perfect,” said Sam Byrne, whose firm Crossharbor Capital owns the private resort, “I have always had a vision of what a Banovich painting would look like in this space and he executed it perfectly. We wanted to create something experiential for the Yellowstone Club, and he nailed it.”

It is easy to feel the cold wind and imagine the sound of thundering hooves churning through the billowing snow, when viewing the painting. The herd of bison features a family unit (mature bulls, cows, calves and young adults), reflecting the Yellowstone Club’s mission as a place where families gather. The snow flies as the herd surges through deep fresh powder. The ice and snow on fur, combined with the animals` warm breath puffing from their lungs, resonates with those that have had the privilege of cutting through fresh morning powder.

"I wanted the painting to show the familial aspect of the Yellowstone Club with bison in all stages of life, and of course the snow, an integral part of the club, and animals native to this region, plowing their way through amazing powder. In my work as a conservationist, I have found so many situations where humans beleaguer wildlife, but this shows a native animal in a natural setting, unfettered by humans and civilization. One hundred years from now I hope we are blessed to live in a world where this iconic beast roams free." -John Banovich

"Generations" Commission

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08/10/2008

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08/10/2008

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3/4  
08/10/2008

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4/4   John with Dick and Mary Cabela
08/10/2008

“Generations”

48 x 115
Oil on Belgian Linen
Private Collector

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Miracles begin with love. Nine children were born to two people who simply fell in love. From those nine, came twenty-two more, and from those twenty-two (who are old enough), another nine. This was the genesis for one of John Banovich’s most complicated paintings. Dick and Mary Cabela have two passions – family and wildlife. Their identity and legacy are inseparable from these two loves. In essence, “Generations,” completed in 2009, is their family portrait told through the story of elephants, and a celebration of love, family and the individuals that make it all possible.

Elephants have a unique personality and are similar to humans in many ways. They have a comparable lifespan and mature slowly. They have a strong sense of family, complicated social networks, and even mourn the loss of family members. With Generations, Banovich rendered each member of the Cabela family by encapsulating their personalities in subtle ways–while careful not to anthropomorphize the elephants to a degree that they were no longer wild creatures.

“It was a delicate balance. To stay true to the personality of each person and to the spirit of individual elephants, I spent two weeks studying hundreds of these pachyderms as they gathered at a waterhole in Botswana. I watched every day as related family units came together and socialized. From these I had to find the perfect elephant to match the individuality of each family member. This painting had to work on so many different levels. I gave myself to it, knowing it may be years before I understood its true importance.” – John Banovich

“John Banovich has raised the bar for excellence in wildlife art. His work is among the best in the world. When you read his story, it gives you a deeper respect for the man behind the art and enhances an already unparalleled visual experience.” - Dick and Mary Cabela, Founders of Cabela’s

"Kigogo" Commission

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09/10/2008

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09/10/2008

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3/4   "Kigogo" in progress
09/10/2008

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4/4   "Kigogo" concept sketch
09/10/2008

“Kigogo”

96 x 108
Oil on Belgian Linen
Private Collector

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“When we were building our new house, we knew we wanted a spectacular piece of art for the centerpiece wall in our living room.  After looking at the work of dozens of artists, we decided that John had to be the one to create something for us–if he was available to take on the job.  John was absolutely great. He traveled to our house in Florida where we spent at least an hour in the unfinished living room, looking at the wall, envisioning possibilities and discussing the details of the painting that we hoped would come to be. Having no artistic skills myself, but having majored in philosophy of art in college, I had all kinds of ideas of what the painting should communicate. John listened to my suggestions and returned to Montana to begin work on the massive painting.

Following the artistic process was exciting.  John would periodically send me sketches of the proposed work, and later, photographs of the painting as it progressed. He had said that I could suggest changes, but I never made a single one. We were thrilled with every stage of the process and anticipated the arrival of the next image.

The result was perfect. John’s painting is without a doubt the featured characteristic of the house. In an otherwise beautiful home, full of quality artwork and with many points of interest, John’s painting is the one that everyone talks about. It is the piece that captivates. The painting is even more special to us because we were allowed to play a small role in its creation. We will always cherish this work of art.”

- Kevin A. Malone, Partner of Krupnick Law Firm

“Kigogo challenges preconceived ideas about wildlife art and contemporary city design, as well as how much space can, and cannot, be utilized by the piece. To me, his frame is an opening in the wall into real space–his space–and he takes me all into his moment and his kingdom.” - Jeannette Malone

"Three Generations" Commission

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10/10/2008

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10/10/2008

“Three Generations”

46 x 72
Oil on Belgian Linen
Private Collector

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“Several years ago, my friend Paul Tudor Jones encouraged me to visit his farm north of Manhattan, New York. He thought this big whitetail might inspire me to paint them. I grew up hunting whitetail, but when he pulled out a shed antler that looked like a massive windswept piece of sagebrush, he had me hooked. I should have known. Everything Paul does is big. It’s a testament to the management practices at Quaker Valley Farms. Paul invests extensively in all his conservation properties in order to provide the highest quality habitat for indigenous fish and wildlife. His commitment to global conservation is unrivaled.

When I first saw these monster bucks, I knew I had to paint them; to say that they inspired me would be an understatement. These lithe yet massive bucks run with such grace that it would be a crime to paint them any other way. For certain pieces, I try to be cognizant to where and how a collector would view a painting. I knew this would hang in Paul’s Connecticut office, directly across from his desk. After a brutal day slaying the financial markets, I hope he can find repose in this familiar scene.” – John Banovich

"Once Upon a Time" - Largest Original

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11/10/2008

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11/10/2008

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11/10/2008

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11/10/2008

“Once Upon a Time”

120 x 120
Oil on Belgian Linen
Private Collector

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NASCAR legend, winemaker, and conservationist Richard Childress–like Banovich–has been deeply touched by the charms of Africa. He and his wife, Judy, invited John to create a painting (for their great room–a room framed by thirty-foot ceilings) that would redefine wildlife art. Banovich reached deep within, exceeding their expectations, and chose a painting he had been carrying in his heart since he was a young man, and one that no other artist had ever attempted: a life-sized elephant. The title, “Once Upon a Time” pays reverence to the magnificent tuskers that once roamed the African continent, before the world’s fascination with ivory greatly reduced their numbers. In modern times, it is very difficult for an elephant with this genetic capacity to live long enough to grow such an impressive set of trophies.

 “Due to the physical and emotional challenges, I believe artists have a limited number of large canvases in them. The creative, physical and emotional tests of this painting pummeled and almost drained me. I started the idea of a life-size elephant with a concept sketch, then recreated this on to the 10 foot squared canvas and washing the line drawing in with an acrylic - sepia wash. Finally the whole canvas was over-painted with oil to "breath life" into the beast.”

“An elephant is one of the hardest animals to paint; its skin wrinkles dictate shape and volume and give the painting a three dimensional look. Every little line must be drawn perfectly. In fact, it takes longer to draw an elephant than it does to paint one.

Using a two-tiered platform, I placed my paints, chair and other tools and aids next to me on my perch. The high platform allowed me to work on the top of my ten-foot canvas while sitting down. I placed a large mirror twenty feet behind me allowed me to see the image the way others might see it. When you are ten feet in the air, you can’t just step back and look at your work. When I was working on the upper-right side, the lower left corner was twelve feet away, and it’s impossible to see a painting that big as a whole from a distance of two feet. The mirror also gave me a fresh eye. By reversing the painting, it broadcasted any issues I was having and was an indispensable tool.” – John Banovich

“The painting just reminds me so much of the real thing. It’s the details that count: the wrinkles on the tusk and brow, the clouds of dust rising from the massive feet, the birds scampering to avoid the charge. That’s like the real thing that you would see in Africa.” – Richard Childress, President/CEO of Richard Childress Racing