I’ve been an artist and teacher for 50 years. I have always believed that to teach art with any sense of validity one must be constantly involved in the making of it. What this means is that I have been a practitioner for quite a long time, and the end product is a proficiency and skill level that is predictable; even expected. When I produce a piece of artwork, I simply put these skills to work. After 50 years I honestly don’t have the faintest idea what creativity means, and don’t have much time for those who speak about creativity and inspiration.                     

I simply go to work.

However, I believe that the ‘spirit’ of art is in every human and is a manifestation of some subconscious knowledge that we are all a part of the one thing…Are connected to this universe that surrounds us. When human beings are touched by beauty, either in the natural world or in the works of artists, they are recognizing this connection, most often unconsciously, and I believe that this reaffirmation is the most important function of the arts.

In my studio a photograph of my son taken when he was visiting Nepal, hangs over my bench. He is walking along a wall of prayer wheels, spinning them as he passes. This sends the prayer “Om Mani Padme Hum” (May all life live as one) back into the universe, and that because this prayer sustains and nourishes, it MUST be said. Someone must say it. I believe every artwork is in fact a prayer, and no matter how inconsequential and trivial, I believe my efforts produce a prayer that awaits some viewer to come along and spin it.

Someone has to say the prayer.

– John Rawlings


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