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Rising Stars: Meet John Hill

Today we’d like to introduce you to John Hill.

Hi John, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I started creating artwork at a consistent rate when I was nine years old. My father was an artist before me, so he was who I looked up to as a young artist. By ten years old, I began drawing portraits and grew to love them because of the skill that is required to create them…and I was naturally great at it. It was impressive, not just to myself, but the people around me. Over the years I would develop my skills by striving to be better each time I drew something. I always wanted to be the best artist out of all of my peers, and I felt that I always was. Throughout my school years, I always took an art class because it was an easy A. In college, my goal was to study art, but I found out that I didn’t like school much, and wanted to create. So, I began doing tattoos out of my dorm room and eventually dropped out of school after my first year in 2013. I kept with tattoos for a few years, eventually became bored with them, and got a “real job” delivering major appliances. Soon after, I picked up the pen and pencil again and started drawing portraits…but this time, I wanted to actually sell my work and try to make a living from it. I got my first major sale in 2016, so I quit my job with high hopes. That didn’t go as planned, so I got another appliance job and decided to create on the side.

In 2018, I finally decided to pick up a paintbrush (after vowing as a kid that I’d never paint because it was too messy). My goal with painting was to find a way to mix portraiture with an abstract style, and so I studied a few artists who I admired and created. My first handful of portraits as a painter were a little shaky in my opinion, but they scored me my first gallery representation in Key West, FL. That is where I developed my own style of painting, and that is where I believe I grew the most as a painter as well. I strived to improve on both the the realism and abstract components of my work each time I painted, and it paid off. My goal now is to keep creating things that I am passionate about and keep improving because there is always room for improvement. I also want to reach and positively impact as many people as I can. Over the years I have been fortunate to have painted for hundreds and hundreds of collectors. Some of my creations are owned by many amazing celebrities as well, including LeBron James, Dr. Dre, Kemba Walker, Steve Harvey, The Game, Russell Westbrook, Phil Heath, Jalen Ramsey, Derrick Rose, Cam Newton, and many more. I am very proud of where I am at, but I know that I am just getting started!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road at all. Just as life, there have been so many ups and so many downs, but it is my job to learn from the downs and progress from there. One struggle for myself as an artist was the business side of art. Starting out, I had to learn how to attract people to my work, and how to monetize that attraction. That is a skill in itself. Building a reputation is also tough. Not because it’s hard to make a “good name” for yourself, but because of the time that it takes to build that reputation. It’s a long road, but if I (or anyone) am in this for the long run, that has to be the focus. It’s easy to get caught up in wanting things to happen now, but a lot of times that’s not the way it works.

The biggest challenge for me in my art journey has been stepping into painting. Before I started painting, I was only drawing with pencils and pens. So to become the painter that I wanted to be, I had to learn how to be creative…whereas before, I would only focus on “how do I make this drawing look exactly like this reference photo?”. Stepping out of the “clean, perfectionist, copy and paste” box that I was in was challenging because I had to sort of forget everything that I was attached to when it came to art and I had to learn to be free and to express myself in a different way. There were times that I wanted to quit, honestly. But I had to go through the hardships if I wanted to grow.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am an artist and I specialize in Portraiture. My style is unique because I blend the two worlds of realism and abstract art into one in a fun, energetic, and positive way. The way I bring life to a canvas is what sets me apart from others. I am known for the detail that I put into my work and the blast of energetic colors that I use as well. The emotion seeps through each painting that you come across! I love painting sports figures, especially the late Kobe Bryant (rest in paradise), and I also love being playful and very creative with my paintings. The fact that I can do what I absolutely love to do, and it provides for my family is what I am most proud of. That’s what matters the most to me!

We all have a different way of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
I define success as doing something that you set your mind to and doing it to the best of your ability.

Contact Info:

  • Website: JLHillArt.com
  • Instagram: @JLHill_Art
  • Facebook: @JLHill_Art
  • Twitter: @JLHill_Art
  • Other: TikTok: @JLHill_Art

Image Credits
Baseball Bats photo: Sam King. All of the other photos were taken by myself.

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