John Anfin

All About Me


I am, to varying degrees, a teacher, artist, cartoonist, photographer, poet, playwright, Macintosh enthusiast, assemblage sculptor, and rock ‘n roll junkie. I’m not sure when these many personas began to develop, but I know the exact moment I became an artist.

It happened at McHarg Elementary School in Radford, VA. My second grade teacher, Mavis Lester, gave everyone in her class the “draw the state bird and flower” assignment. Later, she came to my desk, looked at my work, put her hand on my shoulder and said, “John, you’re an artist.” I believed her.

Later I came under the corr
uptive influences of MAD magazine; however, it wasn’t until much later that I offered my cartoons for publication. A dear friend, Pud Lane, the Nestles’ Quick rabbit artist and noted cartoonist, helped me develop the audacity to submit my work.

After high school I was unable to convince my parents to send me to art school. They refused; saying said they wanted it, i.e., education, in my head, not my hands. It took me thirty years to exact my revenge. At the age of 48 while teaching at Winthrop University I earned my fourth and favorite degree, a Bachelor of Visual Arts.

Along the way I have admired the work of many great visual artists. A few of these are Willem De Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Stanley Spencer, Jean Arp, Paul Delvaux, Larry Rivers, Lucian Freud, Eric Fischl, Odd Nerdrum, Mort Drucker, Jack Davis, Julia Margaret Cameron, Alfred Stieglitz, Phil Moody, Imogen Cunningham, and my mentor, Winthrop University’s Paul Martyka.

At present my painting is in acrylics. Many are abstractions, however, I enjoy figurative work, especially of a surreal or satirical nature. From time to time I throw myself in constructing assemblages. These are in the fashion of Joseph Cornell. I have also started exploring digital photography. Going from film to digital was a hard decision made easier by seductive software and the lack of a darkroom. Another of my passions is editorial cartooning. Needless to say, I am not without subject matter in that genre. Unfortunately, I only periodically pen a cartoon. When I do, I put it on my website, because The Roanoke Times or local newspapers won’t accept unsolicited editorial cartoons, no matter how good they are. If you want to see what they refused, go to: “Recent Cartoons.”