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John Grant

John W. Pinkerton


John is a friend of mine.

John's a good example of my contention that we must try many different things in life, and when we find something we're not awful at, we should do it.

John was an architect for a while---got a masters degree and everything.  Three years later, his employers told him, “John you're a nice guy…nice guy, but no architect.”

John concluded that there was something wrong with his brain.  By the way, more folks need to consider this possibility.  He got folks at Texas A&M to test his brain  and found John was “normal” except for that spacial perception thing---whatever that means.  Anyway, no one had ever scored higher.

John considered his ancestry and thought of his grandmother who was a noted California artist.  “Aha!  He too would become a noted California artist!”

However, he, his wife, and three children were “living” in Texas…and he needed a job.  California trip delayed.

John now works as a personal trainer in College Station, Texas…a long way from Los Angeles, his birthplace and a long way from being a noted artist.

John began his life as an artist by creating pencil drawings.  Holy crap!   Not just any old pencil drawings: they were and are extraordinary. 

I first met John at a modest little show at Art C's in Somerville, Texas.   After introducing myself to John, I told him he had a problem: folks just briefly glanced at his drawings and moved on because they thought they were photographs.  I innocently suggested that he add a little color, so folks will realize that they were drawings, not photographs.  John rejected this thought with some conviction because he said they were too hard to draw to screw them up with color.  I accepted that as a valid rebuttal, but added, “Well, you can't make a living doing pencil drawings.”

He must have agreed with my assessment because he began to take oil painting lessons from a local fellow but found the experience less than satisfying, so he pursued his painting lessons on his own.  He was an excellent teacher.

I talked John into participating in a show in which all paintings were 11x14's in Fayetteville, Texas.  It was an excellent show with contributions from around the world: John's painting drew a bid of $1500, the highest for the evening.  All John got for his effort was a nice meal.

John began doing works related to A&M University.  That was okay but not a huge moneymaker.  He began doing a lot of commissioned pencil drawings and painting portraits for folks.  He's become quite popular with these.  He even had a show at a local coffee house.

In the meantime John is still working as a personal trainer, a job that he's good at and likes, but he still wants to be a full time artist---in Los Angeles, California, where he and his wife, Julie, grew up.

John for several years had been traveling to California to visit with big-time artists in LA.  He had a lot of success in getting in the doors of these folks, and as part of his plan to return to LA, he wrote a book about his experiences meeting and interviewing these folks.  I've never doubted John's artistic abilities, but, damn, he's also a fine writer.

On one trip to California, John met with some big-shot artists who backhanded his painting but were crazy about his sculptures, which, by the way, I don't really care for.  I told John that those West Coast guys were full of horse manure.  We'll see.


By the way, his book is entitled Discovering the LA Art World.  The first paragraph will give you a flavor of John's writing: “We knock on a studio door in LA, and an enormous red headed-man emerges.  He looks pissed.”

I believe John and I are a lot alike…well, except for the talent thing: both of us are just regular fellows trying to make our way in the world.

If John and Julie make it back to LA, Linda and I will certainly miss them, but we'll be happy for them.