KU Degree: Master of Fine Arts (Painting and Drawing) (2012)
Why he’s a Hawk to Watch:
John is an artist, filmmaker and designer who has exhibited his work across the globe. His art and film challenge the viewer to think beyond the normal experience. John’s art and film investigate individuals from unconventional communities. Some past groups include: cab drivers in Providence, RI, American bikers in Sturgis, SD, residents of Slab City, CA and college Greek life in Lawrence, KS. John was voted Best Artist in Lawrence in 2014 and 2015 and will soon become Artist-In-Residence at The Stress Disorder Treatment Program teaching recreational art to vets suffering with PTSD.
My solo exhibition “Decadent and Depraved” at the Gonzo Museum in Aspen, CO was a very proud moment. Having my short documentary “Welcome Slab City, USA” screened at The American School of Kinshasa in Congo, Africa was surreal. I still have no idea how the headmaster found my work.
What’s your lowest career moment and how did you pick yourself up and move on?
I have had many rejections and “low moments” throughout my career, it comes with working in the arts and entertainment. Those rejections have lead to other opportunities that were better suited for me. At the time they were VERY frustrating, but they forced me to work harder at my craft and keep experimenting. You can never let a series of “no’s” stop you from that one sweet “YES”.
Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
Still collaborating in LFK with other talented artists and experimenting with several different mediums.
What do you know now that you wish you could tell your 18-year-old self?
Starting a business is expensive, don’t let it stress you out. Photograph ALL of your work. And most importantly, one day you will grow an impressive beard.
What’s your best career pro-tip?
Apply for everything. Apply for everything. Apply for everything.
What do you do after you’ve clocked out?
Take a long evening stroll in East Lawrence with my wife Allie and dog Norman.
What is a fun fact about you that no one knows?
I can talk like Donald Duck.