John Simon Burnett

Artist's Biography

California coastal artist John “Simon” Burnett was born

August 1, 1956, in Atlanta, Georgia, to artists Charlotte and

Rex Burnett.  In her time, Charlotte was an accomplished

painter, architectural designer, and computer graphic artist. 

Rex distinguished himself as an automotive illustrator

for HOT ROD Magazine from 1948 to 1953 (

Simon started drawing at a preschool age, first on his bedroom walls, and later, in the margins of his school work papers.  Two of his school teachers identified him as a daydreamer, earning him criticism from one and approval from the other.  At seven years old, Simon saw Alfred Hitchcock’s emotionally saturated film Spellbound which is populated with dream-like images and sets by Salvador Dali.  This film introduced Simon to Surrealism and modern psychoanalysis, and contributed to his interest in Jungian dream psychology.  Says Simon, “Dali’s image of the melted wagon wheel, falling in slow motion from the side of a barn, at once terrified and fascinated me.”  Dali’s influence came again in the form of his painting, The Metamorphosis of Narcissus, which Simon saw in the Tate Gallery in London during a trip to Europe as a thirteen year-old.  After returning home, Simon picked up the brush to paint some imaginary landscapes, such as View From a Window which he completed by age fourteen.

The Birth of a Painting

old memories, future possibilities,
living symbols,
and hidden meanings
superimpose themselves
over the sight of real things
such as
mountains, rivers,
clouds and trees

Simon likes to ponder his nighttime

dreams, likes to hear about the dreams

of others, and will try to interpret them.

"My art is meant to take people into

the dream world, even during the middle

of the day."

Simon’s creative interests include landscape painting, experimental music composition, cartoon animation, and special effects in film making.  These four modes of creativity come to life in his YouTube music video Tibetan Time Tunnel.

Studio Option Zero Gallery

Selected Resume for two-dimensional art

2011, 2014 Festival of Art in The Redwoods, group show, Gualala Arts Center, Gualala, CA.

2009 Rex Burnett Invitational, automotive art Group show, Gualala Arts Center.

2008 Swiss Light, group show of photos from Switzerland, Gualala Arts Center.

2004 Solo Exhibition, Tah Gallery, South Pasadena, CA.

2002 Expressions West, juried show, Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay, Oregon.

1998/9 Biennial Watercolor Competition, juried show, Triton Museum, Santa Clara, CA.

1988 Red & Black & White Show, group show, Gualala Arts Center.

1984 Festival of Art in The Redwoods, group show, Gualala Arts Association.

1982 and 1983 Art in The Redwoods Invitational Show, Gualala Arts Association.

1979 Festival of Art in The Redwoods, Honorable Mention, Gualala Arts Association.