John Rowe

15th Annual ARC Salon (2020-2021)

John Rowe

United States

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An Artistic Odyssey: Meaningful Portrait Paintings


Fine Art Today

May 3, 2020




From the West Coast to the East Coast and back, accomplished artist John Rowe has done just about everything to establish a successful career. Supporting a family through major commissions as an illustrator, Rowe continues his epic journey by exploring more deeply how fine art can communicate what words cannot.


The story of artist John Rowe’s career reads like Homer’s Odyssey— filled with triumph, love, deception, failure, and so much more. Like many before him, Rowe’s journey into art began when he was a child. The artist recalls how he had trouble putting down the pencil — how he was constantly observing the world and musing on how to represent it on paper. As a budding artist, Rowe’s formal training began at Cal State LA, where Al Fiori encouraged him to go to Art Center. His first attempt at a student loan fell through, so he worked two full-time jobs sleeping two hours at night and two in the morning to raise tuition and continued one job working his way through school. After school, he sold his belongings packed his art supplies and portfolio and took a Greyhound bus to New York City with $600 tucked in his boot.


In the “City That Never Sleeps,” Rowe found himself pushed into roles that didn’t provide the creative outlet he desired, so he took the plunge and resigned his job at an ad agency and began painting full-time. The move proved pivotal for Rowe, who relocated to Los Angeles and was quickly noticed by Disney for his illustrative talent. He writes, “Over the years I have been lucky enough to be able to support my family through commissions from Disney, the United Nations, and National Geographic. He was the president of the Society of Illustrators in Los Angeles for a few years as well. In the financial crash in 2008 he worked as a guest artist on cruise ships.


As the economy improved Rowe entered into a relationship with Disney Fine Art, which allowed him to create work of his own design and choosing interpreting Disney themes as highly realistic scenes. He sold hundreds of both original oils on canvas and limited edition prints throughout the world.


Then ‘once again Rowe changed direction in his career to focus on work that is deeply personal to him. His figurative work celebrates the absolute uniqueness of people in his life, their joys and sorrows and their just being. His recent still life’s are of objects around him as he shelters at home with the rest of the world. This new work has been recognized through awards and honors by international organizations and competitions.

* This statement has been provided directly by the artist in association to their 15th International ARC Salon entries. This content has not been edited for typos or grammatical errors and has not been vetted for accuracy.