John Bankston Bio

John Bankston, born in Benton Harbor, Michigan, currently lives and works in San Francisco. With the initial goal of becoming a doctor, Bankston earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology at the University of Chicago in 1985. However, after taking an art class with Chicago artist Vera Clement, he decided he wanted to pursue a career in art instead. Bankston then moved to San Francisco to build his portfolio and take classes at the San Francisco Art Institute. He returned to Chicago and received an MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1990. Combining both figurative and abstract elements, Bankston’s work explores personal identities and characters through visual storytelling. He has won many awards for his work, including a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, an Outstanding Ford Foundation Fellowship, a SECA Art Award from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant.

Artist Statement