Born in London in 1959 it wasn’t until twenty years later, whilst living in Newcastle, that John Skinner began painting in earnest. With no formal training, save a miserable art ‘0’ level failure, John perfected a distinct technique and an unorthodox, against the rules approach to watercolours. manifesting itself in the uniquely jewelled quality that we see in his work.
During this period, John also fronted minor cult pop outfit ‘The Shed. Indeed with regular air play and a feature on radio one he could well have chosen the stage, however when Ann Thwaite the acclaimed children’s book writer spotted his paintings, she together with publishers Andre Deutsch commissioned John to illustrate her latest book ‘ Amy and the Night-time Visit. John accepted and that was the end of pop stardom. The book was well received, John being short listed for a prestigious national award.
John then spent some time sketching in Spain and Portugal, whilst there he was commissioned to paint a collection of pictures for a massive multi-corporate, RJZ. The centre piece can be seen in the entrance hall of their headquarters in Lisbon.
On returning to England John took on an array of jobs, working extensively in film and Television. Spitting Image and Walt Disney were among his impressive list of credits. The chances are you will have seen his work illuminating your television screens. In 1991 John took a sabbatical working first as a Florist and then as a postman, whilst all the time keeping his hand in taking on various graphic work through his agent. Through out the whole of this period John was also in constant demand for his exquisite sign writing, one of the most striking being the shop front of fashion icon ‘ Artwork’ in London's West End. He also completed a series of large murals for Italian coffee-house chain
‘ Chiapinis’, these can be seen in various towns across the south of England.
It was the summer of 1995, when John took a short holiday in Devon, that he was beguiled by the beauty of the region and decided to stay. John has now settled in Teignmouth with his partner Stephanie and her three sons, they also have a daughter of their own. John can often be seen roaming the estuary, moor land and coastal paths of the area, his love for running comes in useful ( he is the captain of one of Devon’s top road running clubs) .
His paintings are now a result of what John loves doing the most ‘painting for people’ he calls it ‘and after all that's what its all about isn’t it.’
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