John Cotterell was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. He came by his artfulness naturally as both his parents were creatives; Liz was a painter, sculptor and weaver while Ryan enjoyed making furniture.
Prior to 2000, he considered himself to be a performing artist singing in several musical organizations in Baltimore including the Baltimore Opera Company. He only began to make visual art subsequent to Liz's death in 1994 and began to paint in earnest in 2009. The current work is strictly subjective. It is bright, colorful and produced in series. The art is often fabricated around found materials, abandoned studio supplies with occasional worn clothing to create mixed media.
Many of John’s early memories are of the sights and smells of his mother’s oil studio but he only fell in love with art in the late 1990s with a visit to the Met in New York. There, he came upon a wonderful space containing several of Clifford Still’s monumental abstracts. The effects of that encounter have been lasting. In addition to Still, John identifies with the language of Richard Diebenkorn, Frank Stella and Elizabeth Murray each of whose work continues to inspire.