The Story of Satori

The Satori Series
John Ross Palmer

The John Palmer Art Gallery and Studio is open Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and by appointment. Please call 713-861-6726 or text 281-224-0968 to set an appointment if you would like to meet with Houston’s Artist John Ross Palmer.

History & Inspiration


In early 2009, Artist John Ross Palmer unveiled the most exclusive art series of his career, Satori.  The Satori Series was the brainchild of Palmer after being hugely inspired by his 2006 journey to Tokyo, Japan.  He admired the moments of serenity, peace and living purposefully.  To Palmer, Satori represents the concept of Sudden Enlightenment.  There are three phases in his path to enlightenment: Acceptance, Enjoyment and Enthusiasm. To coincide with the three phases, Palmer would release the series in three different years with five year increments between them: 2009, 2014 and 2019.  During each those years, exactly six paintings would be released. Once the story of Satori reaches its dramatic conclusion in 2019, the 18 total pieces will be forever regarded as the most prominent, powerful and valuable paintings of Palmer’s illustrious career.

Satori 2009

“Satori 2009 No. 1.” 46″ x 40.” Mixed media on canvas. Private collection of M.M.

In 2009, the first series of six paintings representing Acceptance was unveiled at the John Palmer Art Gallery & Studio in Houston, Texas.  The world-class event coincided with the release of an amazing Satori catalog containing images of all six pieces, Palmer’s personal thoughts (in his own distinct handwriting) and a powerful introduction by legendary Houstonian and art aficionado Dr. Carolyn Farb, hc.

“Satori 2009 No. 2.” 70″ x 40.” Mixed media on canvas. Private collection of R.T.C.

Farb writes, “When I first saw the beginning of the series John has come to call Satori, I immediately embraced his concept of sudden enlightenment.  The paintings are both beautiful and ethereal, graceful and powerful, speaking to the many emotions one experiences when they are face to canvas with one of the six in the series.  I continually marvel at John”s imagination, energy and total submersion into a concept he brings to life.”

“Satori 2009 No. 3.” 46″ x 40.” Mixed media on canvas. Private collection of R.L.J.P.

2009 was the worst financial year in the history of John Palmer Art as it coincided with the downfall of the entire US economy. However, due to the power of the paintings and the loyalty of Palmer’s top enthusiasts, five sold immediately.  There was a sixth and final piece…that Palmer and his husband Ryan Lindsay simply could not sell.

“Satori 2009 No. 4.” 46″ x 40.” Mixed media on canvas. Private collection of B.L.S.

After trying literally every avenue to place the final Satori 2009 painting while receiving top-notch sales strategy from industry leader Charlotte Law, Lindsay had an epiphany (while on a power-walk in the Houston Heights) on how to put the sixth piece into private collection. Hear the story in his words by watching the Satori 2009 documentary film.

“Satori 2009 No. 5.” 46″ x 40.” Mixed media on canvas. Private collection of C.J.S.

After the entire series went into private collection, it was then time to celebrate in a most luxurious fashion.  Following a hilarious limousine ride, the business of John Palmer Art treated all collectors to a fun and glamorous dinner at the history Tony’s in Houston, Texas. Mr. Tony Vallone personally created the menu that was used on this one night only.  Collectors of John Ross Palmer’s Satori 2009 include full-time artists, doctors, successful entrepreneurs and titans of industry.

“Satori 2009 No. 6.” 46″ x 40.” Mixed media on canvas. Private collection of D.B.W.

Prior to a night on the town, Palmer gives the “Satori 2009” collectors a tour of his private studio.

The “Satori 2009” collectors.

Celebratory Satori dinner at Tony’s with autographed catalogs and a specially-designed menu from Mr. Tony Vallone.

Satori 2014

The years from 2009 to 2014 remained tough, but, fun.  Palmer streamlined his business – decreasing employees while increasing efficiency. The Escapism Founder took massive financial risks by showing under his own gallery at top international art fairs in Chicago, Miami, Toronto and Los Angeles. Palmer also formalized his much-sought-after international art series with the creation of the First Class Club, an underwriting group of Palmer loyalists. His mentorship program began to thrive with applicants from all over the world. In 2013, Palmer initiated and completed the wildly successful Refuse to Struggle campaign to raise funds to erect an ultimate artist training center for the Escapists.

“Satori 2014 No. 1.” 90″ x 50.” Mixed media on wood. Private collection of J.B.F.

In 2014, the second series of six paintings representing Enjoyment was unveiled at the John Palmer Art Gallery & Studio in Houston, Texas on April 4, 2014. VIP guests to the “invite only” soiree dined on sushi and sipped champagne as they gazed at the then-sold-out series.

“Satori 2014 No. 2.” 70″ x 40.” Mixed media on wood. Private collection of C.J.S.

By this stage of his career, Palmer had mastered the art of the preview.  For months prior to the formal unveiling, Palmer courted premier collectors with personalized correspondence on the inspiration and technique used to create Satori 2014. He then orchestrated one-on-one previews with his biggest and best where the guests watched a 3-minute preview film in a special viewing studio, read a dynamic catalog with introduction by Houston and Marfa art legend Lynn Goode, sipped wine and champagne and dined on sliders, breakfast biscuits or mac and cheese bites before choosing to acquire or pass on one of the valuable original art pieces.

“Satori 2014 No. 3.” 70″ x 40.” Mixed media on wood. Private collection of D.T.V.

Goode writes, “Satori 2014 reveals a celebration of personal safety and joy, inasmuch  as the playful side of Palmer’s nature is exuberantly  and beautifully painted onto the wood, while the viewer is invited to experience the profound contentment Palmer developed during the last five years as he sought harmony through his personal and business relationships.”

“Satori 2014 No. 4.” 40″ x 46.” Mixed media on wood. Private collection of L.C.

While Palmer’s style matured, as did his mastery of presentation and preservation of his creative process. Palmer was astute to capture this creation of Satori 2014 through a plethora of photographs – including numerous with his prized English Pointers, Bobby and Jane.  The photos are symbolic of the Enjoyment phase – as nothing brings Palmer greater joy than the unconditional love of these “children.” Further, it was with Satori 2014 that Palmer reinvented his documentary film feature to make it shorter, more upbeat and focused on serving as a charge to the potential collector immediately prior to their viewing the new art series.

“Satori 2014 No. 5.” 40″ x 46.” Mixed media on wood. Private collection of L.L.E.

The collection of Satori 2014 has led to a notable placement and features. Satori 2014 No. 3 is displayed prominently in Houston’s premier fine dining establishment, Tony’s.  Satori 2014 No. 1 has been featured on the live television broadcast Public Affairs, Public Access with host Linda Cohn as well as one of the top ten paintings of Palmer’s career in the photo-biography by 2018 Escapist Nabarupa Bhattacharjee, John Ross Palmer: Through the Lens of Nabarupa Bhattacharjee.

“Satori 2014 No. 6.” 40″ x 46.” Mixed media on wood. Private collection of D.L.D.

A young Bobby admires the creation of “Satori 2014.”

Lynn Goode visits the gallery, takes notes and interviews Palmer prior to writing her well-crafted introduction to the “Satori 2014” catalog.

Palmer discusses “Satori 2014 No. 1” on the live television program “Public Affairs, Public Access” with host Linda Cohn.

Satori 2019

Satori 2019 will be unveiled at the John Palmer Art Gallery & Studio on April 26, 2019.

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