How long have you been teaching at Spruill? I began my move from Abernathy Art Center to Spruill in the Spring of 2014. It was too late to get a class in the catalog so I began with two 4-week Teen Drawing & Portfolio Development Classes that June. The classes made and were the start of a very interesting and fruitful (so far!) four years here.
What classes do you teach? Well, I teach at five Metro Art Centers. Here at Spruill I’ve been fortunate enough to build up a class offering of 6 Drawing Classes a week. Each week I have two Figure Drawing Classes, a Portrait Drawing Class, a Teen Drawing & Portfolio Development class, a Drawing & Painting w/Ink class, and an Adult Drawing Class (Shadows & Light). In addition, I have a couple of recurring experimental workshops and a June Teen Academy Arts Intensive program (that I teach along with a special Artist & friend – Lauren Adams) that I’ve run for eight years now, first at Abernathy, then Alpharetta Art center and now here at Spruill!
Best part about teaching at Spruill? People! One word answers probably won’t fit your needs so just let me say that so far at Spruill I’ve found a different from the norm and most appreciated mind-set among the Administration where the ‘customers’ are the most important part of the business. Not the facility, not the staff, it’s the teachers and the students who capture Spruill’s focus, and rightly so. Yes, there are rules to follow set down by the ‘front office’, but they’re pretty fair and always with the goal of making the ‘customer’ feel more welcome and part of the experience. You’d be surprised at how alien this concept is in other facilities where it seems the teachers & students exist to support the organization, a concept that has always seemed backwards to me.
The mindset of the organization spills over into the community in such a way that the ‘pool’ of interested students (i.e. Artists in Training) seems to grow each year and more importantly I have never had the pleasure of working with so many 110% committed students, all who take their progress and commitments very, very seriously. Sure we cut up in class as much as possible, have to keep Art fun after all, but the ‘focus’ is there. I have the best students I’ve ever encountered, they keep me energized and make my teaching feel very special. And maybe the most important thing is I learn from them every week!
Do you have any pets? A loaded question. We have our own menagerie of sorts. Three Golden Retrievers, (True, Robin & Kai), a rescue Border Collie (Liam) , a 19yr old female snow-shoe cat (Daisy), a Rag-Doll three legged cat (Crash) and two domestic shorthair rescues (Saige & Ari).
Where did you grow up? Confession time, yes I’m a relocated Yankee. Born & raised in Binghamton NY, (the snow belt of the state who claims 37 sunny days per year) where I began my somewhat less than illustrious 16 year Catholic Education. I never did learn to speak the Nuns language. I’m of the opinion that after a time we learned to deal & accept one another without needing to understand or know each other. It was an experience.
Favorite Artist? Or biggest inspiration? That’s easy, Maxfield Parish, who was THE Master of light, imbuing his works with an etherial wonder the likes of which I’ve never seen elsewhere and have tried (failing miserably) to emulate. Rodin who studied and learned the intricacies of the human form creating works that are supernatural in so many ways, Harley Brown who is best know for his depictions of Native Americans in traditional dress, and John Waterhouse who as a draftsman excelled beyond most all others only later in his career to adapt his skill to sumptuously detailed pieces that demand hours and hours of examination – I could get lost forever were I to find a gallery of his work, and Harley Brown.
Guilty pleasure? A great book, a glass of wine & Lorenna McKinnett playing in the background (loud)
What are you currently reading or binge watching? George Shipway, The Wolf Time, a history of Walter Tirel, Lord of Poix and the ultimate demise of King William Rufus, son of the Conquerer. As far as binging goes, for several months we really haven’t had more than an hour or maybe two to watch anything on any given day so binge watching really doesn’t apply unless you can binge over several days & if you can then: Bosch, history, Homeland
If you could be any age for a week, what age would that be and why? Over the years struggled in many ways and learned a lot from the people I have been fortunate enough to work, giving me a very deep appreciation of where I find I am right now – not sure I’d want to repeat that process unless I could be assured I’d learn even more so I believe it best to enjoy where I find myself now, we are where we are supposed to be.
Glass half full or half empty? Or is the glass just malformed? I’d like to stand on the fence and say both. I often feel I have too much knowledge of both sides to a question so a ‘decision making process’ may take a while, but hopefully benefits from the extra introspection. I’d call my outlook an optimistic realistic one where I learned to always expect the best while doing my best to prepare for the worst.
What is your perfect pizza? Proietti’s Pizza, 4-5 topping Veggie with extra cheese, Rochester, NY
What is the last picture you took with your phone? Mona, figure & portrait class yesterday and today
Facebook page? johnwhorne
Come take a class with John! He teaches at the Spruill Center on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. He is also offering a few Saturday workshops this summer. To see his upcoming courses click here.