The Artist, John Lyons
Priest | Lover | Husband | Artist | Author - John Lyons, A Caring, Curious Man.
Born, 1963 to teacher parents, the youngest of five children, he was encouraged to be creative, whilst open to learning from observation, listening and questioning. Though gifted, art wasn't considered a "real job". Dissuaded from following his passion, he was directed towards the sciences as a good source of income. He read "Applied Biology" in Surrey, then took time out to train for life as a Catholic Priest, studying Theology and Philosophy at Durham. Though not ordained, this period produced a young, self-confident man, with advanced communications skills. Whilst training he had been taught to be a radio-journalist / producer/ presenter to BBC standards. John Lyons has actually recorded, produced and presented a week of "Thought For The Day" on BBC Radio! Leaving theology, he turned towards medical science, specialising in Medical Microbiology. John underwent training in Liverpool with advanced studies at Manchester University, gaining a Post-Graduate Fellowship in 1990. He then moved to Oxford, as a Senior Scientist in the Public Health Laboratories in the John Radcliffe Hospital. He remained a creative artist throughout all this time and was invited by his Professional Institute to design the branding-logo for their National Conference, amongst other things.
Days, Nights and Nude Women, the Story Continues...
Though Oxford days were devoted to medical science, diagnosis, research, learning and teaching, John Lyons' free-time became devoted to "people in distress" and "creative art". He was a volunteer inspector of Police detention suites, a counsellor with Oxford's Victim Support (specialising in victims of acute trauma, including rape) and a resident-elected Councillor representing the needs of his electorate at Local Parish Council and Oxford Town Hall meetings.
Becoming An Art Tutor in Oxford...
From 1992 John Lyons attended a regular Life Drawing Class in Jericho, Oxford. His first ever life-drawing completed here, was accepted for exhibition in the City's "Oxford ArtWeeks", shown at a City centre location. At this time John sketched mainly Portraits, drawing with charcoal on bright coloured sugar paper, creating out of the negative darkness into the light of form and highlights. Shortly after this, the class-tutor was head-hunted to a position with an American University. Not having a tutor, the class was threatened with closure. John Lyons took over as the "life drawing tutor" and continued to run the class, sourcing new ladies to model, until alternative arrangements could be made. Shortly after he also started whole-day life-drawing sessions at the Community Centre in Littlemore, Oxford. These sessions allowed artists the time to experiment with techniques. John can recall a fellow artist mixing domestic wall-plaster to then paint a "fresco" of the nude during the session. This technique was a great inspiration to John's later work, where he painted female nudes within quick-setting-cement (see below)
Art Tutor on Television (re-shown all over the world)
2000, John Lyons relocated to Stockport, Cheshire and established a large photographic and art studio on the upper floor of Vernon Mill. In doing so, he became a driving force behind the VMA studio-group (Vernon Mill Artists). John Lyons cajoled a committed group of ladies (mixed ages, sizes) and a small number of men to pose nude for his weekly Life-Drawing group, none of whom had ever posed before. Thus, his group became very popular with local artists and art-teachers, who were happy to send Art "A-Level" students to John for tutoring. Around 2005, John Lyons was approached by the TV Producer for "How Not To Decorate" (a Lifestyle programme showing multiple series on Channel5) to teach their Celebrity presenters, Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan, how to draw and paint from a reclining nude in his studio, footage to be included in their next programme. John was vey happy to assist and thus filming started. A few small, pictures remain from this time, shown below. All proceeds from this event were paid to Christie's Cancer Care in Manchester (for whom John provided a regular % of his artistic income). The popular programme has been aired several times in the UK (Episode #3.2, Nov 2005) and according to Wikipedia is still showing on Australian TV. It has also aired in South Africa, New Zealand, Estonia, Canada, Poland, Spain and Albania.
Why Does John Lyons Avoid The Spotlight?
John Lyons has had exhibitions around the UK, including Central London art galleries, yet is aware you've probably never heard of him. Standing at an imposing 6'6" tall he tends to be recognised and remembered once physically met but other than this, has never actively sought out the spotlight for his artistic merits. John continues to work (in a purely voluntary capacity) with people in distress, or at the edges of society (as he has done for most of his life) and is aware that to be able to do this well, he needs to live a fairly "anonymous" life... even though this somewhat contradicts the existence of an artist.
Art Exhibitions with John Lyons:
- "The Beauty Of Women 2", The Strand Gallery, Piccadilly, London.
- "Tie & Tease" at Electrowertz, Islington, London
- "The Beauty Of Women", the Menier Gallery, SouthBank, London
- 2nd International Twitter Exhibition, Moss, Norway
- Invited to show with the SAATCHI ART gallery (online)
- Heaton Moor Rd Pop-Up Gallery. 6 Week Gallery.
- Vernon Mill Artists Exhibition
- 22-26 Bramhall Lane, Shaw Heath. 6 Week Gallery (Co-Director/Sponsor)
- Stockport Municipal Art Gallery
- Bistro West, Manchester & Manchester Metro "Featured Artist" (Cement Fresco)
- Fellicinni Bistro, Manchester Exhibition (Cement Fresco, sold entire collection to one collector, opening night)
- Trade Stand "Erotica" Trade Show (GMex Manchester).
- Breaking Spaces III, Stockport
- Breaking Spaces II, Stockport
- Oxfordshire Artweeks,
- BBC Radio Tees, "Artist Supporting Breast Cancer Victim, in Nude Art" (interview with John Lyons & the anonymised lady)
- Life Drawing/Painting Tutor, Channel5 "How Not To Decorate" - Repeated in UK and shown worldwide (multiple territories)
- Manchester Metro "Featured Artist" - double page spread, Art Editor posed semi-clad for John Lyons, working with quick setting cement & acrylic paint to create a "Modern Fresco" on canvas.
- Sensual Nude Photography, - Widely published UK Press
- Moved to Lancashire, Nov 2015
- Stokesley, N.Yorks. Opened Art Studio, Oct 2011 (Photographic and Life Drawing Studio)
- Moved to North Yorkshire, Jan 2011
- Managing Director, an Arts Community Interest Company c2006
- Stockport, Started Life Drawing Group, 2002
- Stockport, Opened Studio & Gallery, 2002
- Moved to Stockport, Jan 2001
- Registered as Life Drawing Tutor on RAM 1998 (National Register for Artist Models/Tutors)
- Oxford, Tutor for Life Drawing , 1998-2000
- Oxford, Student of Classical Photography & Processing (student under Keith Barnes) 1997-2000
- Oxford, Student of Fine Art (Life Drawing, Painting) 1994-1998.