Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
With a background in film and television, arts management and marketing, I have been engaged in creative pursuits for my entire career. Although I didn’t start to exhibit my work until 2012, I have always been passionate about painting. I love strong colour and texture and my work has been described as expressionistic and painterly.
Where do you get your inspiration from when you paint?
I tend to focus on one subject area at a time and work up a body of work that is coherent and can be shown as an exhibition. My inspiration often comes from nature.
What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?
Focused, creative, passionate, collaborative and driven.
Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?
My very first job was working at McDonald’s which I absolutely hated. My career since then has taken many twists and turns however most roles have been quite creative. I currently divide my time between being a marketing manager by day and artist by night.
How do you usually plan your daily activities?
I like to be organised and plan my day in advance. Having said that things rarely go as planned.
As an artist, what is your biggest frustration?
Everything about art prizes.
Tell us about how you prioritise your art?
When I am creating a body of work for an exhibition I am very focused and set myself goals to complete paintings by specific deadlines. I always like to have more paintings than I need for a show so that I can cull the least successful pieces.
How do you connect with other artists, and your customers (i.e. how do you network)?
I am a frequent user of social media and love communicating with art lovers and fellow artists on Instagram, Facebook and through my blog. I frequently attend exhibitions by other artists and love discussing my work with collectors at my exhibitions.
Your advice to artist who are just starting out?
Work hard, experiment and have a passion for what you do.
Tell us about your up coming Solo Art exhibition at ArtSHINE Gallery?
“Big Country’’ explores the relationship between man, animals and the land. A tribute to the beautiful Australian countryside and the animals who inhabit it.
John & Mum (Edna)
What is your proudest moment so far?
Well actually there have been two moments which are inter-related.
When I was first hung in the Mosman Art Prize was pretty exciting. It was a portrait of my mother Edna on her 86th birthday and the judge was Lucy Culliton. It was lovely for my mother to enjoy this success with me. When legendary Australian artist Charles Blackman visited the exhibition, he wanted to vote for my painting in the People’s Choice Awards however he was not able to do this as the voting had closed. His publicist relayed the story to me and sent me a lovely photo of Charles giving “Edna” the thumbs up.
John-Klein-with portrait of Charles Blackman
In 2016 I was thrilled to have the opportunity to paint Charles for the Archibald prize. I remember clearly the day that I went to his house in Woollahra to show him the completed painting for the first time. I had the painting covered with a black cloth and as Charles was wheeled towards the painting his carer told me to brace myself for the worst. I then slide the cloth off in a rather theatrical fashion to reveal the work. He sat and stared at the work for what seemed like an eternity and then turned to me and said “10 out of 10”. I couldn’t believe my ears. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was that he liked the picture. He made my day!
Who do you most want to meet and why?
I would have loved to have met Marilyn Monroe. I am such a big fan. I think that her talent was so underestimated and her beauty was just remarkable. She has been the source of inspiration for many artists over the years. I actually did a painting of her for my first solo show “I Wish…”.
What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?
To celebrate successes and learn from mistakes.
What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?
I am not really into fiction books however I do like books about other artists. I have a quite a good collection of art books which live in a custom shelving unit that I had built into my studio. I refer to them often. I have an autographed copy of Wendy Sharpe’s book which she gave to me as a gift several years ago. I love it and view it regularly as a source of inspiration. I’m a big fan.
Where do we find you and your products?
I sell my work online at the following sites:
My work is available through the following galleries:
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