Private collection, United Kingdom
Born in Neyland (Pembrokeshire, Wales) in 1974 Barry John studied at Sir Thomas Picton School before joining the army in 1990. After a year in Kent he served in various countries around the world starting with a posting to Hong Kong. His travels, for later postings to Korea, Malaysia, Jamaica, America, Northern Ireland and Kosovo, inspired him to take up painting. The experiences he had during his service form most of the content of his art.
In 2004 he had his first solo exhibition in Pembroke Dock, Pembrokeshire and was received well in the community and by those who visited. This propelled John to further work and bigger exhibitions in Pembrokeshire; notably Fishguard and Haverfordwest, before expanding to exhibitions in Yorkshire and Germany. In the 2010 New Year’s Honour List he was awarded an MBE.
In February 2011 he was part of a group exhibition called ‘Other Worlds project’ in Salisbury Museum and has exhibited in the Mall galleries in London, after winning the Arts Templar award in June 2011. In April 2012 John had a solo exhibition in the waterfront Gallery in Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire; this showed a selection of his work, including some inspired pieces based on the works of famous Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.
John left the army in December 2013 after twenty-four years of service and organised the Neyland Armistice Project, a collaborative art project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War, the same year. In 2014, John opened the VC gallery in Havorfordwest. Here he provides a safe space in which army veterans, older people, children and people experiencing isolation or mental health difficulties can try their hand at art and hold their own exhibitions. His art career has run alongside the growth of the gallery; he now has works in museums and many private collections.