AMERICAN FREEDOM ARTIST
MARK PAUL JOHN
Art on the River is excited to welcome Mark Paul John as our featured artist this year. It all started back in February 2002. Mark decided to draw a couple of pictures for a local fundraiser for a 18 month old little girl (Crystal) She had a brain tumor. He wanted to draw something everyone could relate to, he wanted it to make people pause for a moment and reflect on some of life’s realities. So he decided to draw Walter Payton (Wheatie’s Box). The other drawing came to him as he was searching for what to draw next. Mark had the A & E Channel on and there was a special about the attacks of September 11th. As he listen, he turn his head to see what what he was hearing and as he did he saw that infamous image of our brave Firefighters hoisting up the American Flag at Ground Zero. It came to him instantly. 12 hours later, it was completed.He used charcoal and pencil on the original and ended up making 10 copies. The drawings did well at Crystal’s Fundraiser. Three firefighters, all from different towns, inquired about the drawings and offered to buy them for themselves, a retiring Chief, and other Fire Departments. It didn’t sit will with Mark to sell them to the Departments. The next day, he was working at Wrigley Field and he told a few of the guys over at Engine 78 across the street. They immediately asked him for one for their House. A week later his American Pride drawing was on Engine 78s walls. One upstairs and another near the kitchen. Lake Hills FD received his second donation. After that he was off and running. With his friend, Jake Hekter along to videotape every experience, they set out across the country donating his American Pride drawing. To date. he has donated over 700 of these across the Country, many in person.
Mark Paul is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Southeastern Michigan Stebbins Family Foundation. The Art on the River Committee is humbled and thankful to the Stebbins Family Foundation who made this grant possible to bring Mark Paul to the event.