Praise for the artwork of John L. Koehler

“Works of Art – by John Koehler is a refreshing journey of an artist pushing the boundaries of his own imagination. When you have an artistic ability as expansive as John’s there are galaxies awaiting your exploration. John’s work shows incredible courage to push past his perfectly polished sense of illustration and design in search of new visual horizons. The style of his work is already one-of-a-kind in the marketplace yet John carries forward driven by an obsessive passion for the artistic muse. It takes a true artist to lead the way into such beautiful and imaginative realms of the unknown.”

Peter Bragino, artist, musician, writer, teacher


“John and I met at an advertising agency. Our offices were beside each other. We became fast friends because like his art he spoke from his heart. He nicknamed me Pepper and I called him Salt. To this day it brings a smile to my face. I describe him as gifted, loving, zany, theatrical unforgettable Rated G fun for the whole family. About his art. I could go on and on about the roller-coaster ride I took while reviewing his art. Surrealism, realism, portraits and exploring the renaissance knowing so much more is to come. Infinite possibilities of expression are at the fingertips of a person with heart, soul, dedication, laughter and a color palette with ideas always being explored. I love the work. I love the person.” 

Terry Wilson, artist and creative director


“In the tradition of Van Gogh, John Koehler in this wonderful narrative and collection of self portraits is not just looking at himself, he is reflecting himself in the world around him. Koehler is showing us a positive trait the average American has lost. Who doesn’t want to meet the person trying to see themselves in you? How much better would we be to show that kind of compassion for one another.”  

Nathan M. Richardson, Poet/Author/Frederick Douglass Historian


“I LOVE John’s work…it makes me smile. His art draws you in with the unusual subject matter, design and layers of color. His work is playful and interesting with a little bit of quirkiness, just like John!”

Johanna Tydings, Owner, 21st Street Art Gallery


“ I consider it quite the privilege to count gifted artist John Koehler as my friend.  Throughout the years I’ve watched with respect and often amazement as he would bring to life beautiful pieces of art using different mediums. Each piece is a bespoke expression of John’s unique and creative gifting. His art brings joy to me and each year I look forward to seeing where he goes next with his art.” 

Scott Rigell, Member of Congress (2011-2016) 


“John’s artwork is an extension of his personality — it’s bold, it’s vibrant, it’s unapologetically fun, humorous and always has a story to tell. I greatly admire both his concept and image exploration, as well as his dynamic use of color. The result is a joyful experience, especially for this admirer. And we can all use more joy. Keep creating, John, and keep us smiling!”

—Kim Nelson, Creative Director & Designer, Red Chalk Studios


“I’ve followed and loved John’s work for years, and particularly his most recent digital artwork. His bold and often humorous take on a variety of subjects is the perfect showcase for this ever-expanding age of digital painting, and it’s not surprising to see John at the forefront. His evocative portraits beautifully add life to his subjects while showcasing the talent he’s honed for many years with sweet enthusiasm.” 

Mark Edward Atkinson, photographer


“As an art educator, one of the particular areas that I focus on when viewing a body of work is the growth associated with the artist.  I already know John is talented, but to see how he continues to push himself and his creative process is inspiring.”

—Mr. Christopher J. Buhner, Ed. S, Visual Arts Coordinator , Department of Teaching & Learning, Virginia Beach City Public Schools


“John Koehler’s work is a kaleidoscope of color and fantasy. He draws a Warhol-like world of pop culture and patterned playfulness. This book peaks behind the curtain of Koehler’s creative process, a rare gift into the mind of an artist.”

Andy Chaleff, author of The Wounded Healer 


“John’s fertile imagination is only matched by his virtuosic illustrative techniques.”

Glen McClure, Photographer,


“John Koehler has been a friend and creative partner of mine for – Lord! – 25 years now. We were paired for some corporate healthcare projects not long after he moved back to Va. Beach and established his studio. As strictly a “words girl,” the art direction side of the house has always been very mysterious to me. This book, then, was both illuminating and great fun – wonderful to see what John’s been up to in recent years, and how his process has evolved (especially as he integrates the ‘tools, toys and techniques’ of the digital age). His enthusiasm and energy are palpable.  The writing is simple, clear and cogent, and yet burns brightly with John’s personality, giving it just the right touches of humor, approachability, honesty – and the perfect balance of genuine humility and (what I consider to be) “earned cockiness.” The work depicted is provocative and lovely, and the text is an insightful telling of his artistic journey. 

Maggie Brydges, writer & editor, Word Brydges, Inc.


“John Koehler tells a fascinating story of his evolution into a boldly creative digital artist. His explanations of technique lead into a series of extraordinary themes that he explores. A treat for any creator or art lover!

Bill Campbell, Artist 


“I first met John in 1994, soon after I started working at the Family Channel cable network as Director of Creative Services. John had just started his studio and was doing freelance work. I hired John as an Illustrator and Photo Retoucher many times. He produced many incredible pieces for me. I would describe John (Johann, as I usually call him – he calls me señor) as extremely talented, as an Art Director, Illustrator and Fine Artist. I admire his dedication and pursuit of perfection. His Procreate pieces are wild, whimsical and interesting – I love them!”

José Barcita, President/Creative Director, Barcita & Barcita, Inc.


“John Koehler’s art has been an inspiration for me since the “Ducks & Dunes” days of the 1970s. At that time John’s masterful pen and ink drawings celebrated everything we loved about growing up in what was then rural Virginia Beach, Virginia. Over the years it’s been a pleasure and a privilege to watch John’s artwork grow and evolve. His digital renderings continue to inspire and push the boundaries of artistic expression.   Couple that with the wonderful work John has always done in support of his community and you have the double edged sword of a life well lived.”

John Lee Reed, Creative Director/Artist, Johnreedesign Inc.,


“I have been with John on this amazing journey of his since the 1970’s where we met at VCU in undergraduate school. His growth and development over the years has been amazing to watch.  I owe him so much for showing me how to master photoshop in its early stages and putting up with my lack of knowledge on the digital side of things which is a testament to his strength as a caring, sharing, teacher along the path to success. His appreciation of my own airbrush and paintbrush skills that developed over the years took my own art to the next level, and my adoration of his work, hopefully played some small part in taking his work to the next level as well.

I still have some of his early work, including a fantastic zinc plate etching of a court jester that clearly exemplified the direction he was headed, hilarious, outgoing, fun, full of life, and full of what DaVinci called “Sfumato”.  He embraced the unknown fearlessly and energetically with the enthusiasm only John could possess and has arrived as a fine artist in his own right.  This is clearly evident in his piece, “Adoration Of The Mermaid”, which transcends reality into a surrealistic world of aquatic imagery that sends us into sensory overload.”

Ed Obermeyer, Fine Art Painter and Surf Photographer


“My father has always been an early adopter of technology, especially technology for creating graphic artwork. I still remember the story of the typesetter from one of his early advertisement jobs who was angry he had convinced the company to purchase Macintosh computers because it would “put her out of work.” But that’s the thing about my dad– even though he was trained as a traditional media illustrator, he never shied away from using technology to create art. He saw it as the future, and so he evolved and expanded his technique. Works of Art is a collection of his newest digital photo illustrations created with the Procreate app on an iPad Pro, which he mastered years ago, admittedly leaving me in the dust. Each series shows different subjects and styles, some playfully neon-bright and others inspired by Renaissance paintings. I couldn’t be more proud to see him share this collection with the world.”

Danielle Koehler, author and illustrator of The Other Forest