John Fox Haag

My parents raised me with an appreciation for art and music although a life as an artist would have been out of the question. Being a doctor would have been the more acceptable path to pursue although that was not for me.

I took my first art classes in college and graduated with a BFA in fine arts in 1973. Shortly after marrying in 1974, I convinced my wife to move from San Francisco to New York while I went to graduate school in design. Although I wanted to be an artist, I chose to be a graphic designer as a way to make a living while painting on the side. Design school didn’t last long as I found freelance design work almost from the start. At ABC Television I worked on “Roots” promos and designed a few Lincoln Center posters which was exciting. In 1976 my wife and I found a loft in Soho when it was raw, exciting, and cheap. On weekends I painted the Hopper-like rooftops from our windows and our son was born there in 1979. Our loft-living was ended by a nasty tenant/owner fight and we opted to return to San Francisco in 1982.

Atari was flying high and they hired me to manage one of their design groups. It was fun and we won some awards while it lasted. For the next twenty years, I painted here and there but I wasn’t fully committed. 

While there were occasional design highlights and awards, I never felt that the work was mine; too many clients to please and committees making decisions. Nothing could replace the feeling that painting gave me.

About the time I turned fifty, I knew I needed to be painting again. A designer friend suggested that I should take Meredith Tromble’s “Painting for Daredevils” at CCA. The class was a life-changing experience for me because it brought me back to the studio life I had missed. Following that class in 2000 I rented my first painting studio in San Francisco.

While raising our son in San Francisco we sent him to French American International School hoping to give him the tools to communicate wherever he goes. I am most proud of the person he is. He is an actor, a musician, and he lives in Brooklyn, New York. A number of years ago when he dedicated his life to acting, it inspired me to dedicate my life to painting, and I have done everything since then to make that possible. My wife and son are my inspiration.