Creating Rustic Art in Adirondack Style
Photo by Kate Ehle/cake & ale studio
Jon Swartwout learned to paint and fish, at an early age from his grandfather while at their family camp in the southern Adirondacks. A native of Johnstown NY, Jon excelled at art throughout high school and college, attending Fulton Montgomery CC, SUNY Cortland and Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute. It wasn’t until he was exposed to the rustic arts that he found his passion. Around age 23, he began refocusing on art, mostly oil paintings of trout, fishing and other Adirondack themes. His first attempt at rustic woodworking was to frame these early paintings with simple bark and twig frames and shortly thereafter he began making furniture. It was not long until he realized he needed to follow his passion and try to make a living doing what he loved, so in 2005, he started his business, Fisher of the Berry Studio. Over the last decade Jon has continued to develop both as a furniture maker and artist. He has become considered one the top rustic furniture makers working in the Adirondacks. His furniture as well as his paintings grace some of the finer homes and camps throughout the region and beyond. Besides his work and fly fishing Jon's other interests include woodcarving, coaching and playing football, reading history and politics, photography and most importantly his family, which include his wife Quinn and two young boys, Jonny and Steven.
Jon is a self-taught furniture maker and describes his style as rustic interpretation of classic design. Each piece is custom designed and one of a kind. These pieces typically range from small tables and stands to large sideboards and cabinets. He also will take on specific rustic interior work, including built-ins, railings and architectural details. Jon creates his furniture, as well as the frames for his paintings in his shop, located just north of Johnstown, NY. Although the furniture making takes place in the shop, the creative process begins in the woods with the harvesting of the rustic materials (trees, root bases, bark and twigs).
FISHING AND PAINTING
Jon has had a rod in this hands as long as he can remember. Whether it was catching bass with his grandfather as a young boy, skipping class in high school to spend the afternoon on a nearby stream, down-rigging for Kings on Lake Ontario with his father or hiking into remote Adirondack brook trout ponds, fishing has always seemed to play a part in Jon’s life, as well as his artwork. In the past years Jon has taken to fly fishing, as an artist he is drawn to it visually and enjoys the challenge of the sport. Working primarily in oils, Jon captures his experiences with an unique realist style. Although he likes to explore new ideas, subject matter and techniques with his paintings, he'll always think of himself as a traditional Adirondack artist.
WHERE DOES THE NAME "FISHER OF THE BERRY" COME FROM?
From 2002 until 2009 Jon coached high school football at his alma-mater and spent a lot of time studying football literature. He was reading an old air force play book at the same time he was looking for something catchy to name his new business. It just happened that the play book was written by the coach, Fisher DeBerry. Fisher of the Berry seemed to have a nice ring to it and so it stuck.
“God made man as such that when something fires his soul, impossibilities vanish.”
- Fisher DeBerry