John Jude Palencar: Alt-Reverie

June 23, 2024 - August 11, 2024
Painting of a figure with a white cloth draped over their entire body with a leg poking out. Their fist is clenched while also covered in the cloth, reaching up in the air as if to deliver a punch. There are white objects floating in the air around the figure, which look like abstract ghost-like jellyfish. A small, white church with a steeple is on the ground next to the large figure. The background appears textured and distressed. The color palette is mostly gray and white neutrals.

John Jude Palencar, Ghost Punch, 45.25” x 57.50” acrylic on cradled basswood panel.

About The Art

John Jude Palencar is the first winner of the Butler’s top Midyear prize of a one-person exhibition. Palencar is an American illustrator and fine artist, renowned for his captivating works in the realms of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. His ethereal style and conceptualization have garnered global recognition.

Palencar’s work is characterized by meticulous detail and a rich language of symbols and archetypes.

His pieces invite interpretation by the viewer, leaving room for personal exploration.

Born in 1957 in Fairview Park Ohio, he has left an indelible mark on the world of art and imagination.



Artist and Illustrator, John Jude Palencar is a rarity among modern artists, mixing meticulous technique reminiscent of the old masters with a soaring, darkly surreal imagination. There are touches of Bosch and Da Vinci in his visual allegories of netherworld landscapes and doomed characters.

For more than forty-five years he has created book covers and received honors for his contributions to the field of illustration including Gold and Silver Medals from the Society of Illustrators – (NYC), Gold & Silver Book Awards from Spectrum as well as their “Grand Master Award”, and six Chesley Awards from the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists (ASFA) including their Lifetime Achievement Award presented in Yokohama, Japan.

His paintings have appeared on hundreds of book covers in over thirty countries for such renowned authors as H. P. Lovecraft, Ursula LeGuin, Marion Zimmer Bradley, P.D. James, Charles deLint, Octavia Butler, David Brin, R. L. Stine, George R.R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien and Stephen King to name a few. His cover paintings for the “Inheritance Cycle”, by Christopher Paolini, have appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List. (Paolini named Eragon’s birthplace “Palancar Valley”, after John.)

He has also created illustrations for Time Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic Magazine and Nat. Geo. Television, Lucas Arts, Paramount Pictures, Vivendi Universal and many others.

As a painter, John has been the artist-in-residence at the Cill Rialaig Artist Retreat Village in County Kerry, Ireland, where his personal paintings were included in a special group exhibition entitled, “Images of Ireland” held at the National Museum in Dublin. He has exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions throughout the U.S.. Palencar has also been a “visiting artist” and lecturer at several colleges and universities.

In 2010 John was the recipient of the prestigious Hamilton King Award presented to him by the Society of Illustrators in New York City. As an artist he received first place in the Figure/ Portrait category in the 30th Annual Artist Magazine International Competition.

He has been awarded The NSPCA Award, The Robert Sanstrom Gold Medal, Judy & Elias Memorial Award, The Louise C. Nemeth Memorial Award, The John J Newman Medal, The Mark Freeman Memorial Award all from the National Society of Painters in Casein & Acrylic. He was recently the recipient of the Gold Medal of Honor awarded by The American Watercolor Society’s 153rd International Juried Exhibiton.

Palencar was awarded First Place in the Butler Institute of American Art 86th Annual Midyear Juried Exhibition. He also received the Allied Artists of America Award in the same exhibition (76th). Additionally he has exhibited at colleges, galleries and museums throughout U.S. and abroad.

Recently he has had several appearances on the Travel and Discovery Channels (Expedition Unknown with Josh Gates) in regard to a treasure book project (The Secret- A Treasue Hunt) that featured his paintings. A project he started with a book publisher in his last year at the Columbus College of Art & Design (BFA). Out of print, and more than forty years later, it went ”viral” and now has a cult following.

His hybrid approach to art – being both an illustrator and fine artist is a testament to the strength and acceptance of his work by a wide audience of clients, collectors and the general public.

“Origins – The Art of John Jude Palencar”, published by Underwood Books is a sumptuous tribute and collection of his book covers and selected personal works.

CATEGORIES: Exhibition

DATE: June 23, 2024 - August 11, 2024

LOCATION: Davis Gallery

RECEPTION: June 23rd, 2024 1:00pm—3:00pm

Selected Works


car icon

Free Parking