John started life as a professional footballer playing for Doncaster Rovers, Preston North End, Newcastle United and Hartlepool before becoming a Manager at Hartlepool United, York City and Halifax Town. John had painted all his life and even during his time at Newcastle United he opened his own Art Gallery, which he successfully ran for eight years holding several exhibitions, including two in Stavanger, Norway.
Since giving up the “beautiful game” John has painted full-time for several years. John’s paintings have been sold all over the world; recipients include Prince Edward and the Duchess of Wessex, The Governor of Hong Kong, Lesley Garrett and Russell Crowe. Many companies have commissioned him, including Allied Irish Banks, Barclays Bank and Newcastle United F.C. and one of his works hangs in the entrance of the Council Offices.
His continued success led to the formation of Era Prints supplying many outlets the length and breadth of Great Britain with signed prints of his originals. These included English Heritage, National Trust, The Wild Life Trust, The English Tourist Board and Hamleys of London. Daler Rowney recently used one of his paintings to illustrate one of their art boxes for worldwide distribution.
In 2006 he was one of 25 artists selected to take part in the ‘Drawings from Turner’ project. All work was undertaken at Tate Britain and his representation of a Turner sketch was part of an exhibition there.
John has licensed a range of his water colours as framed prints and images on mugs and other memorabilia which are sold in English Heritage and associated shops.
In December 2007 John opened his gallery, John Bird Studio in Bawtry. Here he exhibits and sells original and limited edition prints of his work and a number of known and notable UK and European artists.
In addition the shop stocks a range of signed prints of John’s water colours featuring local scenes in a traditional style, Art Posters and Cards.
In June 2010, Business Doncaster’s Creative Industries specialists, CIDA, approached John to see if he felt he could benefit from the CIDA Innovation Process.
He was assigned two days intensive coaching from and marketing expert and the process assisted John in identifying his core business and his market advantage.
This resulted in a considerable re-structuring of the Gallery, removal of the lower end priced items, a rising of profile and positioning for higher priced items, making John’s work space as a practicing artist more visible.
John is re-designing his website to make it more user friendly and add greater focus to the higher priced and more exclusive art works. He is also mining the information he has for former customers in order to develop direct mail campaigns and invitations to private viewings.
Since CIDA’s intervention sales have increased significantly and are consistently considerable higher than comparable months in the previous year. As a one man operation John found the process really helped him to think through issues, explore possibilities and felt it had been critical that his coach was himself from the creative sector and had such a strong grasp not just of how creative businesses work but also customer perspective and a commercial focus.
John feels the business has been invigorated and he has a positive approach to the future.
For more information on John Bird Studio, contact John on 01302 714872, visit www.johnbirdart.co.uk or call in to the studio at:
John Bird Studio
3 Dower House Square