A competent artist who never got the breaks, John might have remained a footnote on the page of art history. Yet fate conspired to prevent him working as an artist. Left alone with two children to support he worked as an art teacher to pay the bills.
In 1986 he placed a classified advert in Private Eye, ‘19th and 20th century fakes for £200’ and a perfectly legitimate business venture was born. His materials were unorthodox; using household emulsion mixed with K-Y jelly to add body and fluidity to his brush strokes.
Work commissioned by ‘Professor Drewe’ were copied so well Christie’s valued one of his paintings at worth £30,000 - this was the moment that the legitimate business stopped and the crime began. Producing paintings to order, he painted his way through 20th century art history, but in 1999 John’s part in the con was uncovered and he was sentenced to 12 months for Art Fraud, serving just six months in Brixton Prison.
Now working on the right side of the law, John paints new work by the Masters with notable demand. John sees his work as not simply creating a copy or pale imitation of the original; he adopts techniques and searches for the inspiration behind each great artist’s view of the world, returning to the places these artists loved, set to explore the angles that remain uncovered or to create the next chapter in a still life.
“Although I frequently use modern paints and canvasses the hope is that the finished painting will deceive the eye into thinking that it is seeing a new work by an established master”