John is a freelance illustrator and painter based in Minneapolis, MN. His work is a mix of digital and traditional illustration, with a focus on evocative detail and a graphic sensibility. He works on a variety of commercial, gallery, and self-published projects.
Describe a project you’re currently working on to a 5 year old.
Paintings of people staring off in the distance. Flowers and patterns make up their bodies. Lots of pretty colors.
Your preferred method of getting that good creative vibe going.
I have to work traditionally, it sparks so much. Digital tools are great, they offer so much flexibility, but I fear my work feels stale if I don’t get graphite/ink/paint on my hands at some point.
One living artist or designer you want to have cocktails with.
Heather Day. I love the immediacy of her work, her use of color is remarkable.
A piece of art in your home that you LOVE.
I have a lithograph from my college printmaking professor, Philip Chen. It was the kindest gift, I have it proudly hanging in my home studio.
What drives you absolutely nuts about the (art) world?
Gatekeeping. It’s by no means unique to the art/design world, but I’m a terrible advocate for myself and default to checking out. There’s so much work required that has absolutely nothing to do with making art.
A quote or lyric that your brain won’t shake.
A professor told me that “Good work wins out (eventually)” I don’t know if it’s necessarily true, but I’d like to believe so.
Most recent song that you found yourself putting on over and over.
Skinty Fia by Fontaines D.C. Definitely overplaying that whole album right now.
Last book you read that you couldn't put down.
All The Pretty Horses by Cormac Mccarthy.
Recent life upgrade that's been a game changer.
I bought a house, which I wasn’t sure was ever going to happen. I’m a homebody (I prefer to say nester) but I function at my best with a little space I can live and work in and make my own.
What was the most memorable field trip you can remember?
Going to the top of the St. Louis Arch stands out, but that’s partially because we got to go to the Riverboat McDonald’s afterwards, which was obviously the highlight of the year to my 9 year old self.
If you could teleport to any bar right now, which bar would it be and what would you be drinking?
Someplace cavernous with lots of wood and very old whiskey.
If someone asks you to cook your "specialty" - what are you cooking?
I am sadly not much of a cook, but for entertaining I really enjoy getting plain pizza crusts and making combos out of whatever, it’s hard to go wrong.