Born in London in 1959, John Skinner started painting in earnest in his twenties, whilst living in Newcastle. With no formal training, save a miserable Art ‘O’ level failure, John developed a distinct technique and an unorthodox approach to watercolours manifesting itself in the jewelled quality that we see in his work today.
During his twenties, John also fronted the minor cult pop outfit ‘The Shed’. Indeed with regular air play and a feature on Radio One, he could well have chosen a future in music; however, when Ann Thwaite the acclaimed children’s author spotted his paintings, she wanted John to illustrate her latest book ‘Amy and the Night-time Visit’. John accepted and that was the end of pop stardom. The book was well received and John was shortlisted for a prestigious national award.
John then spent some time painting in Spain and Portugal. Whilst there he was commissioned to paint a collection of pictures for a massive multi-corporate, RJZ. The center piece can be seen in the entrance hall of their headquarters in Lisbon.
On returning to England, John Skinner took on an array of jobs. Working extensively in film and television including Spitting Image and Walt Disney. The chances are you will have seen his work on your television screens. In 1991 John Skinner took a sabbatical working first as a florist and then as a postman. Whilst all the time keeping his hand in taking on various art work through his agent. Throughout the whole of this period John was also in constant demand for his exquisite sign writing. One of this most striking being on the shop front of fashion icon ‘Artwork’ in London’s West End. He also completed a series of large murals for Italian coffeehouse chain ‘Chiapinis’. These can be seen in various towns across the south of England
It was the summer of 1995, when John Skinner took a short holiday in Devon, that he was enchanted by the beauty of the region and decided to stay.