Artist’s work showcases family, life

Jeff Weidman and Jeff Weidman

It’s completely natural. Everything in John Duran Junior’s ability to paint comes naturally to him. He used to watch in amazement as his Aunt Nini would paint and sketch artwork as she went to art school. Sure that he could create artwork too, Duran began sketching his favorite cartoon characters during school in second grade. By sixth grade, John was selling his sketches with the help of a friend.

In high school, his health poster won “Best” out of 1,000 other students. His teacher doubted that he actually drew his poster, so he made him draw it again in class to prove its authenticity.

After high school, Duran held quite a few jobs that were non art-related, before he moved to New York to start a life as an artist.

His older sister Angie Duran said that she thought the idea was “great because [John] has so much talent and scary because artists have to be very successful in order to get recognized, paid, and credit for their work.”

She was right. At first, he had a difficult time finding work. As he tried to get noticed as an artist, he modeled to make money to live from. After a commercial, music videos, and a movie, Duran finally got a paint job through an ad he placed in a local publication.

For Duran’s first job, he was hired to paint on the wall of Bomboa, a restaurant in a high-class area of Boston. The owner told John that he wanted to represent Rio de Janeiro and Paris. The painting became “Rio de Janeiro.”

Next, he did a painting called “Aurora,” which he describes as beauty in nature, which to him is also his “grandmother’s spirit.” Duran’s next job was to paint an upscale apartment in New York City. This decorative art was featured in “House Beautiful” magazine.

John Duran Jr. is native to Point Place, Toledo, Ohio, where the rest of his family resides today. Born in 1970, he spent a trying childhood growing up in a close family. Along with the murder of his father when Duran was five, he felt he didn’t fit in with his teenage classmates. For the many reasons he felt this way, his one escape was always art. Whether it was being the lead singer of a touring Spanish band, dancing talent shows or drawing cartoon characters in school, John Duran always loved art. Currently, he is working on a painting titled “Cookie,” which is a farm landscape.

Duran has original photos for sale in the Toledo Art Museum Store. The photos are comprised of pictures taken throughout his time living in New York City, Germany and London.

During a typical day, Duran finds ways to become inspired and then works it out on his canvas. When asked how he creates such beautiful artwork, he replies, “it comes naturally to me.” And it does; a typical day for him creates beauty for the world.

John Duran Jr. is currently in Ohio and has artwork for sale or would be available for paint jobs in the Bowling Green/Toledo area. He can be reached at (419) 944-9800.