John Van Houten

Fine Artist, Instructor, Illustrator


Portrait by Nate Ely

I grew up in the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan. In my earlier years, I was encouraged for my drawings of superheroes and monsters which snowballed into a lifelong pursuit of creative endeavors. After years of channeling science fiction and fantasy into my work, I later went on to pursue studies at Kendall College of Art & Design. After achieving my BFA in Illustration, I continued to paint and draw while balancing graphic design, freelance illustration, dog petting, and drum solos. My work took a surrealistic turn, so I uprooted my life and moved to Buffalo where I immersed myself in painting and taught young Buffalonians how to draw. I received my MFA from University at Buffalo.

Teaching Philosophy and CV available upon request.

“…any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better. Out of my own slim experience, I would venture the opinion that the artistic impulse is a mix, in varying proportions, of childhood habits of fantasizing brought on by not necessarily unhappy periods of solitude; a certain hard wish to perpetuate and propagate the self; a craftsmanly affection for the materials and process; a perhaps superstitious receptivity to moods of wonder; and a not-often-enough mentioned ability, within the microcosm of the art, to organize, predict, and persevere.”

-John Updike

Photo by Nate Ely

© 2020 John Van Houten