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John Watt was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1952 and studied Fine Arts at Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick from 1971 to 1973. During this time, John worked as a painter, sculptor, and printmaker until he discovered video, a new time-based art form that shifted his attention away from more traditional art media. Watt continued his studies from 1973 to 1974 at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he produced many of his early video performance-for-the-camera works, notably “Peepers” and “I’m a Killer”.
Over the past forty years, Watt has become one of the most internationally respected media producers/directors in Canada and a noted pioneer of Video Art. John’s video art was exhibited and collected as early as 1974 at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s 'Videoscape' and was notably the first major survey of video art in Canada.
In 1979 Watt produced and curated “Television By Artists”, a landmark series of six commissioned television programs by artists. Each program was designed and framed for broadcast television and examined a variety of concerns as objects or events for broadcast television.
Watt’s interest in the advancement of video technology led him to becoming one of first commercial videodisc producer’s in Canada, directing four major installations for the Canadian Pavilion at Expo ’86. This groundbreaking project consisting of fourteen synchronized laser videodiscs and was programmed using a digital image controller over a matrix of one hundred and eight monitors. He has continued to be an innovative video producer, pioneering electronic applications for the Internet and Public Display worldwide.
Watt’s video works have been extensively exhibited and are collected nationally and internationally in museums, galleries, expositions, festivals, broadcasts, including: National Gallery of Canada, Fukui Prefectural Museum of Art, Fukui, Japan, Brighton Polytechnical Institute, England, Centre d’art Contemporain Basse-, France Normanmdie, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, The Power Plant, Art Gallery at Harbourfront, Toronto, Montevideo, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Blaffer Gallery, Houston, Texas, U.S.A., Koln Art Fair, Koln, Germany, Agnes Etherington Arts Centre, Kingston, Ontario, Obscure Gallery, 729 Cote D’Abraham, Quebec City, London Video Arts, London England, Simon Fraser University, Center for Arts, B.C. Canada, University of Toronto, McLuhan Center, Toronto, High Museum, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A., Maison de la Culture de Brest, Brest, Belgium, Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, Alberta, Long Beach Museum of Art, Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Hara, Japan, Sydney Biennale, Sydney, Australia, Kijkhuis, Den Haag, The Netherlands, Via della Croce, Rome Italy, Ed Video, Guelph, Canada, Western Front, Vancouver, B.C., Canada.