Being a part of the local music and art scene has allowed me to cross paths several times with artist, John Cannon. Formally in the Factory at Franklin, John has a studio/gallery at the historic Five Points in East Nashville at The Idea Hatchery. His walls are full of an eclectic mix of art that is full of color and life.
I sat down with John recently to talk art, which lead to additional topics of music, writing, philosophy, and just life experience in general. “Your art form is what you’re not afraid of,” John said. “We’re all fearful about certain things. I would be afraid of a lion’s den or hang gliding, but putting paint on a canvas shouldn’t be something to be afraid of. “ He goes on to say that many people are not only afraid of painting, they are afraid of liking art and do not understand the process. John teaches art, and, when his students say they do not like what they have created, John says, “Somebody will.” As he gets older, he tries not to be too judgmental. He knows that, even if he is not a fan of something, there are others that like it. John makes the point that Van Gogh only sold two paintings, while he was alive, and both were to his brother. Just recently, one of Van Gogh’s paintings sold for $147million dollars. “Paint what you like and wait for others to like it,” John said. “If you’re painting what you like, you are true to your art.”
Something that I have really enjoyed, while getting to know John, is his sense of humor that he infuses into his art. One of my favorite pieces is his “BLT-Beagle Lettuce and Tomato”. Like much of his work, it is inspired by his love for dogs and, like many East Nashvillians, his enthusiasm for tomato art. I experienced the Tomato Art Fest for the first time this year, and I am now a tomato art enthusiast, myself. In addition to the “BLT”, John has many funny and creative tomato paintings. As for the aforementioned love for dogs, John does a lot of paintings of dogs, especially commission work. Part of the proceeds of all dog art goes to Frankie’s Friends, a non-profit foundation dedicated to finding cures and saving pets with cancer and other serious pet diseases.
Even though John’s work can often be seen in art shows around Williamson County, I strongly encourage you to make the quick trip to East Nashville to see his studio/gallery and get the full experience. “There’s so much good visual art in Nashville right now,” John Said. “ It kind of takes ‘second fiddle’ to the music scene. People should get out and experience it and definitely support local artists.”
To find out more about John Cannon, go to www.johncannonart.com. Also, check out www.frankiesfriends.com and www.tomatoartfest.com.