Born and raised in Birmingham to a classically working class family who gave blood to the British cause from the Boer to the Second world war, bold commitment and brave decisions mark out the turning points that have guided John’s life. It is indicative perhaps that he would accept the role of teaching at the Royal College of Art but turn down an invitation to become its principal, moving instead to Australia. Walker had a strong influence as Dean of Victoria College of Art Melbourne in the 1980’s – where there is still a bursary in his name. In 1969 he was awarded the Harkness Fellowship to visit New York and subsequently he would be awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship in1981. By then Betty Parsons had found her way to his studio door in the UK, recognising the strength of his painterly language. It was through Betty that John found Maine, taking a holiday cottage that would become his home and a teaching post at Boston where he is still Professor
Emeritus. Life is the carapace of our choices and John is a rare species, a British born internationally applauded abstract painter. He is considered one of their own by both Australia and America, two countries that readily adopted him and more recently China where he is visiting teacher in art at Beijing.