According to his family members, John Dawson was already drawing at the age of three. He can’t recall a time when he didn’t know that art would be his life. Although his love of the outdoors took a while longer to develop, both art and nature quickly became integral parts of his work. But it has only been in the last decade that he has come into his own, gaining recognition as a fine "natural history artist."
After graduation from the Art Center School in Los Angeles, Dawson "paid his dues" at the Phillips Ramsey Advertising Agency in San Diego before deciding to follow his muse to the Sawtooth Mountains of the Wood River Valley in Idaho.
There he experienced some tough early freelance years. Only after trips to New York, Boston and Washington D.C. did Dawson secure enough support to make a living doing what he loved.
Since then the artist has painted animals and birds for articles, posters, nature guides, first-class postage stamps and even zoo signs, for such prestigious establishments as the National Geographic, the Audubon Society, the National Park Serice, the National Wildlife Federation and the U.S. Postal Service, among others. All his works display a meticulous attention to detail, supported by extensive research, interviews, personal experience in the field and eighteen-hour days at the drawing board.
Although inspired by the remarkable terrain of the West, Dawson traded that environment for the tropical rain forests of Hawaii after a recent assignment in America’s fiftieth state. He has settled there with his wife, Kathy and has opened his mind to a new wealth of art, possibilities and challenges.