John Riddle has been an artist and musician for much of his life. His formal training began at the New School for the Arts in Scottsdale, AZ, with a focus on sculpture and guitar. After high school, he studied at the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery (guitar construction and repair) in Phoenix, AZ, gaining skills that allowed him to work at a guitar shop, building and repairing instruments, and teaching classes. Eventually, John relocated from Phoenix to Saint Paul, MN to attend the McNally Smith School of Music, working towards a major in composition and a minor in guitar performance. His life took an unexpected turn after a drug overdose and subsequent brain injury, and he has been working hard, both in physical therapy and in the studio, to regain the full range of his musical and artistic skills.
John often feels frustrated during the process of creating his art, and has difficulty accepting the eccentricities of different mediums. However, John often lets the medium direct his hand, for example, using a black pen to outline and emphasize the shape of a brushstroke. Ultimately, he finds a sense of satisfaction and happiness when he has completed a piece. John enjoys experimenting with a wide variety of mediums but his favorites are pen, ink, and watercolor paints. While the inspiration for his paintings often come from his own wild imagination, John also draws a lot of influence from the photographs of photographer Wing Young Huie (who owns one of John’s illustrations), the nature sculptures of sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, and the light installations of artist James Turell.