John Killmaster +Observer +Experimenter +Creator +Mentor

When did you know you were going to have a career in art?

I always made things, drawings, carvings, paintings, colored paper shapes, and objects and cartoons, so art was what I was interested in above all else, and that lead to a career.

Over the course of your career, what are some of your proudest moments? 

In 1974, I won the competition to create the “big wall” for the newly remodeled Boise Art Museum which led to my introduction to porcelain enameling, and subsequently, in 1978 led to my being chosen to represent Idaho in the First Western States Biennial at the Smithsonian’s Nation Museum of American Art in Washington D.C. At the same time, I received the Governor’s Award in Idaho. Presently, I am considered a “Master Enamellist” and was given a lifetime award by the International Enamellist Society in 2001.

What advice do you give to aspiring artists?

Pursue your artistic passion, and keep challenging your ongoing development and opportunities will open. Never stop working toward your goal. Believe in your own concepts, and learn from nature and other artists while developing your imagination and trust your intuition. Aim for quality, not merely copying what is popular. Also, seek out good art instructors who can assist you on your journey. 

From an artist’s perspective, what is your definition of success?  

My definition of artistic success is setting out—in one’s youth—upon a vision and goal of pursuing and creating art, letting nothing deter that goal, and continually developing, improving and enjoying the journey while focusing on creativity, and never letting monetary success lead to an emphasis on repetitive formulas, thus curtailing creativity and experimentation, which can lead to discovery and new, innovative art.