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From the time he was very young John Ballou carried a sketchbook. He found it a natural thing to doodle and sketch and enjoyed training his hands to work with a good deal of confidence. Although his parents insisted on academic courses in high school, he constantly drew and painted at every opportunity, on any surface, and in range of scales and a wide variety of media. In college he ultimately gave up on an industrial engineering degree, deciding after three years of engineering to pursue a bachelor’s degree in fine art and a master’s in media arts. 

Serendipitously, John found himself at George Mason High School for what he thought would be a temporary high school teaching position. Over what became a nearly four-decade career, he taught art, robotics, technical stage design, and a number of other technology/arts classes he devised with the school’s blessing. Throughout these decades he discovered the joys of doing graphic design on computers, something he still dabbles in with enthusiasm.

Many of the projects John worked on with students over the years were controlled by such external constraints and parameters as secondary education often imposes. With retirement he found himself confronting the possibilities of work outside the habits of

mind required of an educator. Freed from the responsibilities that kept him on his toes as a teacher, he is now exploring more fully a different kind of focus.

John has always believed in a philosophy of design that accepts messy complexity over modernist purity. Ultimately, he has found it fun to utilize symmetry, contrast color, distort perspective, compose, illuminate and shade, glorifying in the freedom of pursuing just what he wants with a visual idea. John seeks to be in control of his own “outer limits.” He hopes his work is both entertaining and intriguing to those looking for visual complexity and varied approaches to ideas and images. 

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