Creative People: John Gregg

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THANK-YOU by John Gregg

Some adults work in creative fields. This post is part of my ongoing exploration into the types of creative jobs you can have as an adult. Of course, even if your kids don’t work in a creative field, learning to think creatively will benefit them immensely.

As a kid, and knew I wanted to be an artist when I grew up, I had no idea the vast number of jobs available for people with art degrees. I heard about “graphic designers” and “illustrators”. But I didn’t realize there were so many different types of illustrators and designers. I didn’t know you could work as a freelancer or be an art director for a small design firm.

Nowadays, I know a lot of creative people working in all manner of creative jobs, and I hope this series will help some adults, as well as their kids, see some of the different options available to them should they be headed toward an art or design career.

This interview is with John Gregg, one of my very best friends in the whole world, and an amazing artist. John and I met years ago when we worked together as designers at a big commercial photo studio in Chicago. We both painted on the side, and he is now working as a teacher and illustrator.

 

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PLAY by John Gregg

Check out his site: John Gregg

1. How old were you when you knew you wanted to be an artist?

I don’t recall ever making an actual decision. It was more like the thing that I didn’t stink at, and most people did. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized or maybe experienced how important making art is for me. If it had been a conscience decision, it would haver been a good one.

2. What were your favorite toys as a kid?

Blocks. The old wood blocks that you built stuff out of.

3. What did you like most about art classes as a kid?

It wasn’t math, and I could get a reaction from the teacher and other students that wasn’t, “You’re a lost daydreamer destined to be an outsider for the rest of your life.” I could do stuff I was proud of. I wish I was good at math though; the kind that leads to groundbreaking quantum physics discoveries.

POLLEN by John Gregg

4. Why did you choose to major in art in college?

Majoring in art was logical. I’d invested the best of my time in my high school art projects. I thought I’d major in illustration or graphic design or even production design, but not painting. Painting seemed to ensure that I’d always be that outsider and success was remote. I ended up majoring in painting. I’d discovered that I really do not like to be told what to do. Painting was freedom of thought and expression.

5. What advice would you give to kids interested in pursuing art?

Remember that the vast majority of people out there do not think visually. This is why an art education is such a great education. Your brain will be able to do things that other people can’t do, but they still need. More importantly, remember that the work is the thing. Work work work. Do really good work. The best you are able to. That’s the thing.

Flow by John Gregg

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10 Comments

  1. Sunny
    08/26/2013 / 9:46 am

    Hmmm, this sounds a lot like my 7 yo son. We are trying to give him lots of creative opportunities in addition to “math”. 🙂 Thanks for the interview!

  2. Sunny
    08/26/2013 / 9:49 am

    P.S. As a scientist, I can say that creative thinking is very important in the discovery process and I wish I were more creative. Science is a great combination of creativity PLUS math! 😀

    • 08/27/2013 / 2:16 pm

      I agree! I am loving finding science/art projects and math/art projects- they are all interconnected in great ways!

  3. 08/28/2013 / 9:07 pm

    This is so good. I love artists, even though I’m on the outer edge of artistic. I love that he talked about work work work, which is so important in everything and which so many people take for granted.

  4. 09/01/2013 / 2:59 pm

    Great interview. I wish I was better at math too. I don’t like to be told what to do either. I think that’s my commission work exhausts me so much.

    I really love that house in the orange. It’s how I imagine what it was like during the dust bowl.

    • 09/05/2013 / 4:17 pm

      I always hated commission work, especially after I made a painting for a family where the dad was an art director and the mom was a graphic designer, they kept having me redo the painting to change a color here and there, maybe add a wash over there….. ick. It’s exhausting trying to figure out what someone will like!

      • 09/06/2013 / 10:11 am

        Someone I know had a commission once. A woman sent her an interior picture of her house. There was a big picture window and her cat was sitting on the windowsill looking out the window. She told my friend to paint that scene. Well, my friend painted it. Then the woman was upset. She didn’t want the cat in the painting or the neighbors house to be seen through the window! People are funny…and exhausting!

  5. 09/01/2013 / 8:19 pm

    I’d love to learn more about his illustration work: how he got into it, what he’s done, what he wants to do with it. Do you think he’d add on to this post or do a follow up post? I think parents of creative kids would love to hear about creative careers and how you get into these. Thanks!

  6. 09/08/2013 / 12:23 pm

    I’ve worked in a creative job since I graduated college – one way or another. The most rewarding was teaching others to create. No matter the field a child chooses supporting them as creators and artists is so important.

    • 09/09/2013 / 9:03 am

      Love this- and I totally agree with you. Creativity comes in so many forms in so many jobs.

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