"I am really most interested in painting the things and places that I live with everyday, those elements which speak of intimacy through familiarity for both bad and good. I paint the issues of daily local life. Since my high school training in art, I’ve always been interested in Regionalism. I need to have that kind of relationship with what I paint”
John’s family has deep and long roots in East Rockaway, New York. This small, historic town on Long Island’s south coast is just minutes away from New York City. He has worked and lived in the area all of his life and has very close connections with the village and a great knowledge of its history.
John earned a BFA with a major in Printmaking at St. John’s University and an MA with a major in water color at CW Post University. After few years working for other schools, John achieved his goal of going back to his hometown.
His role as a dedicated and beloved teacher at East Rockaway High School has afforded him some local celebrity status. A modest and humble man, he would seldom admit it.
After 40 years in Art Education, John retired in June 2013. Thirty-five of those years were spent in East Rockaway in the very same school he attended as a young art student. “Bishop”, as most of his students call him, had a difficult time deciding to retire. He is one of those very few lucky individuals who discovered a destiny early in life. He knew he was an artist but also knew what he wanted to do with his talent. Teaching for him is a vocation, as much as art is. Sharing his wide knowledge of the subject was as important for him as practicing it. Teaching students to love art, and, in the best of cases, helping them develop their own talent and even shape careers, has been one of the achievements of which John is most proud. He seldom stops talking about it, relating seemingly thousands of happy tales, and the occasional sad ones, of the students whom he has taught over the years.
After a very short battle with brain cancer, John passed away on January 16th, 2014. Hundreds of friends, relatives, colleges and students attended the services. Thirty five years’ worth of former pupils from all over the country flew back to Lynbrook/East Rockaway (Long Island, New York) to pay tribute and express the love they all share for their teacher and champion, Mr. Bishop. It is rare for a teacher to love and be so loved and admired during his lifetime; “Bishop” was such a man.
Please click here to read the Long Island Herald interview with John Bishop, published on June 19th, 2013