Born in Adelaide, December 1953, John Whitney is a professional visual artist working mainly in the field of Drawing or Mural painting. An early influence was having Ruth Tuck as an art teacher at school and then being an assistant at her art classes.
He trained as an Art Teacher at Torrens College of Advanced Education where he had Geoff Wilson, Jeff Harris and Max Lyle as lecturers, and began teaching art in1976. He taught for eleven years in country and city schools.
He resigned from teaching in 1987 and has been a professional artist ever since. He has exhibited widely; solo and group exhibitions overseas and throughout the state. Exhibitions are inevitably based on themes; “Industrial Landscapes”, “On the Edge”, “Japan” and “Goyders Line” to name a few.
Drawing is his main love; in the medium of pen and ink, coloured pencils and pastels; He has been involved in many art projects, and has been an “Artist in Residence” at some eighty schools throughout the state; doing murals, drawing workshops, painted poles, printmaking and sculpture.
A member of the Royal South Australian Society of Arts since 1986 he became a Fellow in 1997. He was on the Committee under Wendy Jane – Sheppard and Paul Griscti . He was awarded the ‘Arts and Education Ministers Award’ in 2003 and along with colleague James Parker won the International “Big Draw” prize in 2010 presented in London.
In the field of murals and public art John has worked in schools, councils and country towns all over the state with well over one hundred and sixty murals painted; either solo or with schools and community groups.
He has also worked as mentor for Carclew’s ‘CitySites’ project and Come Out Festivals over the years.
He has travelled extensively, sketching and recording as he goes; and has lived and exhibited overseas.
“Drawing has always been my main love; be it sketching, doodling in ones journal or more formal drawings. Drawing is important in all of our lives from recording ideas, plans and being the foundation for much of what we do in all walks of life.
As an artist I believe in recording the world around me, so most of my work is realistic; loving the detail of the subject before me. “