Enjoy the Journey
John Hul is a self-taught artist who produces "photorealistic" pinup works of famous models. He enjoys drawing celebrity portraits and, from the age of 17, playing the drumset that his parents "perhaps regretfully" gave him as a gift.
Born in Pittsburgh in 1957, Hul grew up in California and Nevada. In his Las Vegas high school, he studied commercial design, oil and watercolor painting, portrait-drawing and ceramics.
Music and drum-playing was more than a passing fancy; Hul was self-taught but played professionally with the funk band Soul Connection, travelling extensively but never giving up art as his true calling. In this realm, too, he learned to excel without formal education. Although he credits his high-school teachers with providing some good techniques and methods, it was largely by studying the works of other artists that Hul learned how to draw and paint.
Early influences include an interesting combination of fantasy / pinup artists and acknowledged fine art masters of the 20th century: Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, M.C. Escher, Frank Frazetta and Alberto Vargas. As Hul's interest and career in erotic art progressed, he turned to more contemporary artists such as Olivia de Berardinis, Patrick Nagel and Hajime Sorayama. One can certainly see these influences in his artwork, which is most certainly good enough to admit him to the ranks of elite erotic artists at work today.
For years Hul worked on and off as a musician and freelance artist. Often he combined his two passions, doing illustration and design for a variety of bands. But the balance couldn't hold forever, and in 1987, he decided to dedicate himself full-time to his art and to focus on another noble pursuit, fatherhood. The music world may miss him but the pinup world has gained a great talent. Since then he has done fine art commissions for a number of private clients and sold his work through Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
The most recognizable of this work is his erotic paintings of famous models. His list of subjects includes many instantly recognizable names, such as Marilyn Monroe, Bettie Page, Anna Nicole Smith, Pamela Anderson, as well as other prominent figures in the pinup world such as Sandra Taylor, Julie Strain, Devin Devasquez, Victoria Zdrok and Suzi Simpson. Although the world suffers no shortage of images of these women, Hul's are some of the most provocative.
Hul works in a variety of media, including watercolor, acrylic paint, oils, and pencil. His acrylic work is exceptionally soft. Indeed, one might say that it is beyond the mastery of the majority of formally trained artists. The black and white work of his graphite pieces is no less amazing. The "photorealistic" description is apt, and there is a depth of feeling and attention to detail that few other artists can capture with traditional tools.
Two successful books have give Hul's work broader distribution: The Art of John Hul (2003) showcases some of his sexiest work of the past couple decades, and The John Hul Sketchbook Volume 1 (2006) shows off his skills with pencils, both traditional and colored. These books are excellent proof that the artist regularly succeeds at his overriding purpose, which he has stated like this: "I create and incorporate simple ideas into my work as much as possible without trying to make my art look mundane or boring." Mundane it certainly is not; there's something of the glamour of the world of rock and roll from Hul's early years. The public can look forward to more of this in Sexy Art Book, which is slated to be released in the spring of 2009.
Hul sells his erotic art through his company Piece of Mind Productions as well as through the Tamara Bane Gallery in Los Angeles. He is also a regular on the convention and trade show circuit, where he connects directly with his throngs of admiring fans. John Hul certainly deserves his reputation as one of the finest pinup artists of his day and stands at proof that the road to artistic success need not go through Art School.
- toured as a professional musician with funk band Soul Connection.
- produced illustrations for a variety of musicians and bands.
- published The Art of John Hul in 2003, showcasing some of his most recognizable works.
- published The John Hul Sketchbook in 2006, featuring some of the best of his pencil work and detailing some of his techniques.
- sells his work through Piece of Mind Productions, Caesars Palace and the Tamara Bane Gallery.