A product of North Carolina born in 1939, John Buxton traces his family ancestry back to pre-revolutionary days which just happens to provide the motivation and central theme of his painting today. In his youth John spent much of his time exploring the deep woods near his home with special attention to the wild animals that roamed freely. Recording what he saw spurred John to draw liberally which developed in him a proficiency for interpreting his observations faithfully.
Those drawing skills and a developing eye for composition sparked John into pursuing an artistic career. Buxton earned a Bachelor of Professional Arts at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Starting as an apprentice at New Center Studios in Detroit, the early years included jobs with Pitt Studios and Town Studios. It was at Pitt Studios that John met and married the love of his life, Noralee. With the demise of Pitt Studios in 1983, John created his own company, John Buxton Illustrations Art which extended a major client relationship shared with his good friend, Robert Griffing. Despite the comfort of steady assignments and regular paychecks, though, both Buxton and Griffing longed for the freedom to choose their own subjects and put some fun into their work.
Canoe trips combined with hunting and fishing and archery gave both artists plenty of time to plot their futures, but the inflection point came with a joint project titled, Points in Time which conceptually traced the history of Pittsburgh. The project ignited again the desire to learn more about the country’s beginnings. It wasn’t long before Buxton and Griffing made visits to revolutionary re-enactments and historical sites throughout western Pennsylvania. These trips put them side by side with serious historians and site directors. The intriguing aspects of painting history to both document, entertain, and educate under a very flexible mandate provided John Buxton and Robert Griffing the opportunity to redefine their careers and establish their own fine art resume.
This journey of going ‘back for the future’ proved to be serendipitous. John became immersed in history and reveled in the chance to paint what he chose while expanding his thirst for historical subject matter. Art had now become fun almost for the first time. Combining research with the resolve to maintain authenticity just energized John and soon attracted major commissions and opportunities such as the National Geographic magazine where objectivity and authenticity are legion. This was a perfect match as John’s penchant for historical accuracy resulted in many authentic recreations of our early peoples, dates, and events. Success with painting history gave birth to a lucrative career of commissions which continues to this day. However, thanks to his good friend and frequent hiking companion, Robert Griffing, John decided to put illustration behind him in favor of fine art painting on his own terms. The fact that John lives right in the cradle of our young nation’s beginning supplies John with a potpourri of events, people, and locales to exercise his unbridled enthusiasm for painting history that today earns John Buxton the fine art label of “historical painter extraordinaire”.
Notwithstanding the somewhat late start in fine art, John Buxton has already captured many awards at numerous art shows and competitions. Though not prolific in output, John Buxton fulfills many commissions as well as participate each year in the American Masters Exhibition at the Autry Center in Los Angeles and the Eiteljorg Quest for the West show and sale in Indianapolis. He is represented by Settlers West Gallery in Tucson, Arizona.
Submitted by Stephen Zimmerman-personal friend of John Buxton and collector of his work.