John McLean was born in Hamilton, New Zealand, in 1944. He began working life as a teacher, but at age 30, with a wife and three children, pursued his passion for art. Now living in New Plymouth, he was fortunate to receive an informal mentorship from artist, Michael Smither. This was instrumental in establishing a firm foundation on which his subsequent career was built. The family moved onto a small rural holding, north of New Plymouth, where they established a largely self-sufficient way of living, supplemented by his wife’s teaching. John also contributed with his own part-time teaching, alongside casual blue-collar work and later in construction and as a set painter and sculptor for movies. Subsequently they bought a larger shared block, where a self-built house, studio and workshop were established, together with an orchard, gardens, and conservation recovery and planting. The rural theme that has occupied so much of John McLean’s oeuvre over the years is an informed reflection of this environment and life-style. He continues to live and work as a painter and writer with his wife, Chris, on the place they call Mimi Farm. Their self-sufficiency is still maintained on their scenic property, bounded by the Mimi River and the Tasman Sea. www.johnmclean.co.nz
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