Moderation has never visited Timmins Ontario. Everything is bigger than life. Immense skies. Vast lakes. Deep mines. Unforgiving winters. This is the canvas upon which John’s early life was painted. At eighteen John moved to Toronto to attend Sheridan College where he gained formal training and accreditation in interpretive illustration. Today John lives in London with his wife Nancy and their cats Lenny, Georgie & Bernie. John gets up with the sun and through some wordless communication she shows John what to paint. Together they invent new surroundings.
It is tempting to draw parallels between the diversity of John’s portfolio with the contrast between life in Timmins and life in Southern Ontario. There is something appealing about tracing the rich hues and dramatic struggles between dark and light that surface on so many of John’s canvasses to his life in Timmins and attributing the often quirky, sometimes unsettling, always compelling illustrations to his life here – one is almost beguiled into drawing references to the great subterranean world of Timmins with its buried gold, silver and cobalt that must be extracted from the earth by the sweat and labour of great men and women and how different that place is from the cities further south where those cities stretch farther into the skies as Timmins does into the earth. But this would entirely miss the subtleties of John’s art.