John Vella was born and raised in Sydney, Australia and moved to Hobart, Tasmania in 1996, where he lives with his wife Sonia, and children Sophia and Vincenzo. Since dropping out of studying architecture in 1988, he has: traveled extensively overseas, worked as a waiter, labourer, photographer, telemarketer, truck loader, phone book factory hand, exhibitions officer, and gallery attendant; completed a DipFA with Distinction (National Art School Sydney), a BFA (Hons) first class and an MFA at the Tasmanian School of Art, Hobart.

John Vella has developed a number of independent and collaborative art projects across diverse national and international contexts. In addition to having completed five commissions, Vella has received highly competitive grants from the Australia Council and Arts Tasmania. John was up until recently the Head of Sculpture at the Tasmanian College of the Arts where he is currently the Director of Program (Art). His work is represented in private and public collections.

Vella commits acts of physical and conceptual frottage on communities, objects and systems; ‘rubbings’ that recycle the act and artefact of lived experience. Mediating status, value and ‘damage by design’ Vella develops diverse testimonies to the epic and incidental aspects of our personal and material histories.