John Martinson was born in St. Peter, Minnesota in 1948. He has a degree in sociology from Gustavus Adolphus College and studied art at U.W. Madison from 1974 to 1976. He and his wife moved to Galena in 1979 to operate the Galena Blacksmith Shop and Gallery. In 1986 he opened his own studio, which has grown to become West Street Sculpture Park, with more than two dozen large (and many smaller) welded steel sculptures tucked into two acres of paths and woods on Galena’s south side.

Martinson has produced a large body of work over the last 30 years. He has exhibited in two-person shows at the Dubuque Museum of Art, the Harry Nohr Gallery (UW-Platteville), the Beverly Art Center (Chicago), the Quad City Artscenter, and a one-person show at the Galena Center for the Arts. Public sculptures include Spare Time (Madison, Wisconsin), Cornstalks (Albany, Wisconsin), and Trinity Cross (St. Peter, Minnesota).

He has been a participant in Sculpture on the Plaza ’92 (Milwaukee), Reflective Spaces (Chicago), Sculpture on Second (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Some Assembly Required (Freeport, Illinois), the Dubuque Museum of Art Biennial Show, and Voices from the Warehouse District (Dubuque, Iowa). Martinson also has sculpted many privately commissioned pieces.


John Martinson, Quilt, 2011, steel, paint, varnish, and binder rings, 84x57x24 inches, collection of the artist
John Martinson, Pirouette, 2012, wood and steel wagon tongue, hay rake tines, and steel, 144x54x60 inches, collection of the artist

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