EssexArt ABC, LLC

Art / Bagpipes / Caricatures


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An Artist's Work, IS Work

Posted by essexart on September 15, 2018 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

    It’s true what has been said about working artists in the 21st century needing to balance time between production, promotions and brand exposure. My small art and entertainment business (EssexArt ABC, LLC), which I often refer to as a micro business (it’s just me) has me “working” virtually every waking minute. To be clear, I am absolutely NOT complaining and the reason I used quote marks on “working” is because I enjoy it so much. However, just because one enjoys what one does does not exclude the effort from actually being work. That is something every artist should strive to remember because otherwise they (we) tend to undervalue our efforts and time. Whatever form it takes, working artists work, learn from their working, then work some more.

    I heard something the other day about Pablo Picasso. I really don’t know if it’s true or not, but it makes for a good lesson to artists. The elderly Pablo (yeah… we’re on a first name basis) was sitting by himself in a cafe and sketching on a napkin or scrap piece of paper. Unbeknownst to him, a woman nearby watched in awe as this 20th century master went about doing what artists do. The story goes that when Pablo finished, for whatever reason, he just wadded up the drawing and tossed onto his table. The wide eyed woman then spoke and asked Pablo if she could have the wadded up paper. His reply, “Sure… for $20,000” (or whatever the equivalent for where this occurred). Thinking this outrageous the woman replied in astonishment, “$20,000! But that drawing only took you a few minutes to do.” Pablo then informed the woman, “No Madame, that drawing took me over 60 years to do” as he then retrieved the wad of paper, put in his pocket and strolled away.

    Just because artists enjoy their work and their spirit compels them to do it, it is work nonetheless. Everyone benefits when that simple notion is remembered and honored.


~ John Essex II is a retired art teacher, a two-time Lilly Teacher Creativity Fellow and an Arts Council of Indianapolis Creative Renewal Arts Fellow. He is also artist/owner of EssexArt ABC, LLC through which he keeps busy creating his own fine art, creates commissioned art, does caricaturing by commission and at special events, conducts private painting parties and is contacted regularly to play the bagpipes (yes… play the bagpipes).

Essex also maintains an online print-on-demand store where patrons can acquire gallery quality giclée prints of his art as well as other products that feature his work. Find it at:" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">

To view what Essex does, and to shop at his online store, go to:," target="_blank" rel="nofollow">" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">

Bridal Shower Painting Party

Posted by essexart on September 10, 2018 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Admittedly, as a guy I’m certainly no expert on the organizing of Bridal Showers. Nevertheless even I am capable of at least observing when Bridal Shower attendees are having a good time. Which brings me to the reason for writing this blog.

Recently I was contacted about conducting one of my private painting parties (I call them Pub & Paint) as part of a the activities for a Bridal Shower that was being organized. I’ve conducted many painting parties over the years, both public and private, but if memory serves me correctly, this was my first Bridal Shower painting party. If I do say so myself, even given the fact that among the 15 participating ladies there were various ages and backgrounds, it went over smashingly.


Lest I sound as if I’m about to dislocate my arm with the patting of myself on the back, please let me explain. Previous to the painting party a painting subject was agreed upon that would be of interest to the Bride-to-be. However, knowing that her interest in a particular subject matter might not be the same for every Bridal Party attendee, I wanted to be sure to also cater to the various tastes of those present. So I made sure, in my preparations for the painting party, to present a painting which had enough flexibility so each person was able to create a work on canvas that expressed who they were… and not solely who the Bride-to-be was. For example, I knew the Bride-to-be was a person who likes cats. I also know that when you have a group of people together, some of them will likely be people who prefer dogs. So I accommodated each in my preparations. Additionally, when it comes to colors, there is a much greater variety than the simple choice of cat people vs. dog people. So… I accommodated for that as well. Am I a genius? In spite of my proclivity to claim so to friends, family and strangers alike, the overwhelming consensus appears to be No (notice the capital N). However I do (perhaps more honestly) believe my experience as a classroom teacher for 33 years has helped me pick up a few tricks of the trade when conducting a class and that is how I can make, and did indeed make, the needed accommodations.


The bottom-line in this somewhat overly wordy communication (yes… I have been referred to in the past as verbose) everything worked well. All the attendees at the Bridal Shower took home a painting that, though similar to the others in their class, was painted specifically for the abode in which they live. I have also received feedback that everyone had a great time as well. I came away from the experience with proof of something I have suspected for a while now… that private painting parties make for wonderful Bridal Showers.

~ John Essex II is a retired art teacher, a two-time Lilly Teacher Creativity Fellow and an Arts Council of Indianapolis Creative Renewal Arts Fellow. He is also artist/owner of EssexArt ABC, LLC through which he keeps busy creating his own fine art, creates commissioned art, does caricaturing by commission and at special events, conducts private painting parties and is contacted regularly to play the bagpipes (yes… play the bagpipes).


To view what Essex does, and to shop at his online store, go to:," target="_blank" rel="nofollow">" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">

A One Night Opportunity For Acquiring Art

Posted by essexart on November 2, 2016 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Whether one is interested in starting to acquire original, local art, interested in adding to a collection, or even doing some early holiday shopping, this event is for you.


VIVA Salon (Very Independent Visual Artists) is not a large group or even one with any kind of organization whatsoever. It's simply a few artists in the Indianapolis area that come together periodically (often not even the same artists) to offer a one night exhibit/sale of artwork hung in the salon-style. What does salon-style mean? Basically it means that wall space is taken advantage of and many works are displayed in a space that would otherwise only accommodate one or two works if hung in the gallery-style.


As a member of the Indianapolis Downtown Artists and Dealers Association (IDADA) the host of VIVA Salon, via his business EssexArt ABC, LLC, artist John Essex II makes sure to create an environment for viewing and purchasing art that is welcoming to all regardless of any level of art awareness. Also, as an event that is officially a part of the IDADA First Friday Gallery Tour, visitors can be confident that participating VIVA Salon artists are serious about their work and are committed to their art.


VIVA Salon, The Antelope Club, 615 N Delaware St.

A variety of work. A variety of styles. A variety of prices.

November 4, 6:00 - 9:00 pm. Maybe some will stay longer... it IS a club you know.

Free parking in the lot across the street.

Chose a Job You Love

Posted by essexart on March 13, 2014 at 11:15 PM Comments comments (0)

That quote attributed to Confucius is true. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Ever since I formed my company, EssexArt ABC, LLC (EssexArt), I have not worked a single day. Of course I've been busy, but I love what I'm doing so much... living the Beatnik life I've always wanted... that the above quote is my reality. There is another quote I think of often also and consider it sort of a guiding mindset concerning what I do in EssexArt. "If it's not fun, I'm not doing it." Pub & Paint, a new branch of EssexArt falls right in line with both quotes.

Following My Muse

Posted by essexart on November 21, 2013 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

Living the beatnik life I have always wanted by being the sole proprietor of my business (EssexArt ABC, LLC) allows going where the muse takes me. This is especially true in the fine art aspect of my business. Thus one of my latest works, The Litter, which is actually a compilation of four separate small paintings. These small, 6 inch x 6 inch, paintings were inspired by my Grandbeagle (my daughters beagle).

The Litter (a conceptual piece), 2013, composed of four 6" x 6" paintings, oil on plywood, $125 each painting.

Like a canine bearing a litter, artists "bear" their work. The litter, like the artwork, is carefully nurtured by its creator then eventually it is the natural process to let go of the individual creations as they travel to completely different environments and are usually never seen again by their creator. Eventually each develop their own particular personality in those diverse environments (thus the individual titles, Passionate Puppy (red), Arrogant Puppy (purple), Jealous Puppy (green) & Happy Puppy (orange).

One of these puppies is spoken for, Jealous Puppy (the green one). The three others are available and would make great Christmas gifts. Sorry, price does not include shipping." target="_blank" rel="nofollow">

A Gathering of Wedding Professionals

Posted by essexart on May 22, 2013 at 4:05 PM Comments comments (0)

I attended a really good and informative wedding professionals networking group at The Crown Room in Brownsburg ( yesterday morning. We meet monthly and it's always good to see how many people, in various disciplines, are out there who really care about making a brides wedding day a great one.

To give you an idea of the variety in the make up of the networking group this month, also attending was:

* Stephanie of the Crown Room

* Jared of Sure Tones Entertainment

* Kara of Visit Hendricks County

* Tuwanna of Louise's Sweets

* Mark of Grapevine Productions

*Lisa of Mary Kay

* April of Jonathan Byrd's

* Tammy of Perfect Wedding Guide

Good meeting. Inspiring conversations and impressive professionalism.

Caricatures... Great Mementos

Posted by essexart on April 17, 2013 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

When organizations book their conventions or meetings, their guest will want something to take home with them. That's where I come in. I provide caricaturing... with a twist. I not only draw cartoons of people, but my work also spotlights the event / occasion that brought them to their gathering location. When these visitors go home after their visit, they take home with them a memento that reminds them of the good time they had in the convention / meeting / trade show city because I customize my caricaturing paper to fit the event. In doing so, I can also feature prominently the business or organization that held the event thus tremendously expanding brand exposure on the memento.


People I've met years after I've done their caricature often tell me their caricature is still displayed in their home. Sometimes with a magnet on the fridge... sometimes in a frame on the wall. I know people also photocopy their caricature... something I encourage... which serves to increase the "warm fuzzy" of it and increase exposure for those that hire me which provides more "bang for their buck". is the address to find examples of the kind of caricaturing I do. My photo albums are used as portfolios so check out my album for caricatures.

Thank you for reading this and I hope we can work together sometime to add additional "Wow-Factor" to the guests you bring to Indy.

The Smaller Indiana address above is also a place where my caricaturing may also be seen, but they are mixed in with examples of the other things I do (bagpiping and artwork).


The caricatures below were done at a Purdue University event.


Atta Boy

Posted by essexart on March 2, 2013 at 11:00 PM Comments comments (0)

Here is the big question from a blog neophyte like myself. Will linking to another blog while doing a blog upset the space-time continuum? Better get braced because that is what's is going to happen here.

I was so humbly honored to be included in Mr. Ivie's blog that I just HAD to share it here. Though one can absolutely love what one does, it is so nice to learn now and again that "atta boys" can come along when one least expects it.

Thanks for allowing me to share.

Indeed, I am a beatnik... wedding professional

Posted by essexart on September 25, 2012 at 2:00 PM Comments comments (0)

In an effort to be flexible concerning where my business might take me, I've started attending wedding professionals networking meetings. Oddly, though much of what I do is done at weddings and wedding receptions, I've not actively grasped (nor actively ignored) the fact that I am a "wedding professional". Rather, I've just thought of myself as a fun guy who enjoys serving people in the role of a wedding bagpiper, wedding reception caricaturist and wedding invitation calligrapher. Hmmm... the evidence IS rather overwhelming that, indeed, I am a wedding professional.

Perhaps it's the title Wedding Professional itself that has had me keeping it at an arms length away. For a regular guy like me it sounds so (how can I say this without putting people off), stuffy. Yet I honestly cannot think of a single wedding professional I've met that was/is stuffy. In fact, they all seem like regular, fun people like myself.

It's settled then. From now on when people ask me what I do for a living I'll answer them the way I always have (since forming my business) by saying, "I lead a beatnik life" followed by "and I'm a Wedding Professional". Confusing? Nahhhh... at least not for the fun people I serve. :-)

Evidently I Have Held Off Too Long

Posted by essexart on August 21, 2012 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (0)

 It's still a little over two weeks away, but I find myself getting very enthusiastic about my one night and one day art exhibit. Interestingly enough last night I even had a dream where I was coordinating particular aspects of the exhibit and figuring out how best to accomplish my exhibit goals. Evidently I have held off exhibiting my artwork just a little too long. :-)