John Cather was born in Chicago on May 5th, 1928. He inherited his artistic talent from his mother and grandmother, who were artists, and from his father who was artistically inclined and a draftsman by profession. While in grade school, John and his two sisters took private art lessons from Mrs. Ella Husband, a prominent artist from Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood. He also studied art at South Shore High School and the University of Illinois and graduated from the American Academy of Art in 1950.
His first job, in the art department of a printing company, gave him enough experience to participate as a “free lancer” in a co-op commercial art studio on North Michigan Avenue. At that time he was a member of the Artists Guild of Chicago.
He retired from commercial art in 1993 after 23 years as Graphics Manager for Monogram Models in Morton Grove. John and his wife, Pat, live in Glen Ellyn. Their three children live nearby with their own families, giving the Cathers ample opportunity to enjoy their five grandchildren. Their daughter, Pam Keller, is also an artist. John is an active member of the DuPage Art League in Wheaton and the Door County Art League in Wisconsin. He is a volunteer with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County for which he is in charge of producing an annual Nature Art and Photo Show. He also is a member of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Midwest Watercolor Society. He is occasionally called upon to judge exhibits for various arts organizations.
Awards include an Honorable Mention at the Sixth Annual Door County Fall Exhibit, Award of Excellence at the Eighth Annual Door County Fall Exhibit, three Best of Show Awards, seven Special Merits and eleven Merit Awards from the DuPage Art League from 1994 to the present. In 1997 he received a Special Merit Award in the Bloomingdale Park District Fifth Annual Fine Arts Showcase.
One of his paintings received a Purchase Award from the DuPage County, Illinois, Judicial Building where it is on permanent display. Other exhibits have included: Wheaton City Hall; the office of the Chairman of the DuPage County Board; DePaul University, Naperville; Northern Trust Bank, Oakbrook Terrace; St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Naperville; and the public libraries in St. Charles, Geneva, Wheaton and Glen Ellyn. Many of his paintings are in private collections.
John’s is best known for his watercolor paintings of landscapes and scenes from rural and small-town America, many showing historic buildings and familiar landmarks. He also enjoys creating an occasional oil or acrylic painting. Although he has been drawing and painting in Illinois, Minnesota and Florida for many years, John’s retirement is allowing him more time to travel and paint, frequently in Door County, Wisconsin.