PRIDE MONTH HIGHLIGHT – Meet John Ross Palmer
Voted Most Outstanding Student in 8th grade at Alief Middle School, artist John Ross Palmer remembers growing up in the Alief area with fond memories. Today he is a successful working artist, something he takes great pride in knowing that he is earning a living with his artwork out of his Montrose area studio.
He contributes some of his success to the solid foundation he received in Alief ISD. As a 1988 Hastings High School graduate, he was an athlete and an Eagle Scout. He still keeps in contact with some of his teachers. He explains how he has always had an entrepreneur mindset, even running his own landscape business that was in direct competition with his mother’s company. “I needed money to go on a school trip to Washington D.C. and I had to earn it myself.” He earned the $500 for the trip.
From lawns to selling his original artwork, John always was a creative entrepreneur, but it was a tragic loss that set him on a path of discovering his artistic talents. At the age of 24 John was thrown into depression after losing his father. It was this loss that eventually lead him to commit himself to living an extraordinary life.
In 1999, this young entrepreneur turned artist sold his first two pieces of artwork for $1000 each. “I was determined to make a living as an artist. I sold my first piece of artwork at JR’s, a local gay club in Montrose. My first sale was to a Mr. Singh,” he remembers.
His life is full of wonderful stories of his artwork, his accomplishments and his unlikely friendship with the Bush family. “I remember one of the last times that President George H. W. Bush was ill, I called Mrs. Bush and said that I knew what would make him better, chicken soup made by me and restaurateur Tony Vallone. She agreed and the next thing I knew Tony and I were making soup then I was delivering chicken soup to the former President and First Lady,” he says.
June is LGBTQ Pride Month. When asked about what that means to him as a gay man, John expresses, “It reminds me of how far we have come and yet, how far we still have to go. When I think of me as a young man and how there was so little real support of the gay community. I remember the first time I heard about AIDS, I was in middle school. Looking to the future my hope is that young people are just naturally allowed to mature in a healthy way from a young age as who they are.”
John celebrates each day ready to create new work and new journeys. You will never find John without his trusty backpack full of everything he needs to create artwork when the desire strikes him. John Ross Palmer doesn’t limit his artwork to cavass or sculpture. Visit his website www.johnrosspalmer.com to discover more about the artist and his work.