In 1976, he began to produce paintings which expressed the preoccupations with scale and space that remain with him to the present day. His first exhibition was a shared show with the artist and architect Nicholas Gilbert Scott, held at the Northcott Theatre at Exeter University, 1977. In the autumn of the same year he started to work with Young Artists, now Arena, an artists’ agency in London specializing in science fiction and fantasy art.
Within a month, publisher Philip Dunn commissioned John to produce a group of three paintings which would illustrate Cities in Flight. As a result of this, Philip Dunn commissioned a book of his work which was to be called Mass, but Dunn (Pierrot Publishing) went out of business before the book could be published. The project did, however, result in a visit to Sri Lanka in1981 to meet Arthur C Clarke, a seminal occasion for any artist, and the book was finally published by Paper Tiger in 2000
Since that time, John has produced a stream of work for science fiction book covers. Also, much of his self-initiated work began to be collected by wealthy entrepreneurs, such as Sir Clive Sinclair. A major exhibition of the work done during this period, his first one-man show, was held at Double Vision Galleries in Exeter.
In 1984-5, John visited the United States for the first time and went to NASA, where he was invited to witness a space shuttle launch and record the event in a painting, the first British artist to be thus honored. That work now hangs in the Kennedy Space Centre and is part of the Smithsonian Collection.
Over the last 20 years, John has broadened his work to include a large range of styles and content, but he remains firmly embedded in what he calls “Imaginative Realism.” He continues to work on book covers mostly for the American market and lives in Devon, England, with his wife and two children.
He is now represented by Alan Lynch in the US and Alison Eldred in the UK.