As an autistic adult, John sees his work as a metaphor for his daily life. “The world is for me a chaotic place. Thoughts and images swirl around endlessly in my head, making it hard to stay calm and focused. Art helps me live with autism by channeling my energy into creating new visions. I make order out of chaos by organizing many disparate elements into a unified and coherent image. I spend significant time researching my subjects to learn about them and their historical surroundings. By marrying my artistic vision with my passion for history, I seek to present a new perspective on history.”
“I find it easier to reflect emotions in my images than in real life. I try to show the emotions I imagine the subject would be feeling, like the sad and worn face of Lincoln or the mischievous grin of Cowboy. In all of my portraits the subject’s eyes are the focus of the work, usually looking directly at the viewer – something that’s hard for me to do in real life. Good examples are John Brown and Sacagawea. I learn through pictures and convey my sense of the world through my art.”
Although John’s portfolio originally concentrated on the Civil War, he has branched out into other areas, most recently focusing on pivotal historic figures across time. He is also working on a series of presidential portraits. John’s work has been exhibited at the Outsider Art Fair in New York, the Outsider Folk Art Gallery in Pennsylvania, the SOFA show in Chicago, the Davis Art Center in Ft. Myers, and numerous locations in New England.
John's work has been featured in articles and books, including a cover story for The Folk Art Messenger, feature article in the Boston Globe and his work is included in Drawing Autism by Jill Mullin.