white hibiscus tery spataro for john massimino 1282022

John Massimino My Mentor and Friend

Endless Creativity

John Massimino painting of Tery Spataro

John Massimino painting of Tery Spataro

I got the guest bedroom ready for Tom, my brother’s visit in December. The Massimino was hanging proudly on the wall, but I felt the painting John gave to me needed to be in my bedroom. So, I took it off the wall, put it in my room, placing this beautiful piece on the dresser in front of the mirror. The art that John gave is a piece he created decades ago is of me.

Mentor, Instructor, Friend

A much sought-after instructor John Massimino was teaching art at Paier College of Art in the early 1980s when I met him. He taught many important lessons about life and art. In addition, John set an example for how to derive “solace and peace” from one’s creativity. I celebrate him for an extraordinary life well lived. You can see his view of life in the beautiful, serene, magical, whimsical worlds he created.  

Tery Spataro mixed media on paper John Massimino collab 1981

Tery Spataro mixed media on paper John Massimino collab 1981

John Massimino was a much sought-after instructor. His lessons were dynamic and inspiring. John objected to competitiveness in his classroom because it robbed the learner of finding their internal artist’s voice. For example, when I took John’s color theory and composition courses, he taught me to explore, push and pull color, juxtapose the lights with the darks, and use color to create the illusion of form. My greatest takeaway was using color to create poetry for viewers. His message of finding solace and peace in creativity is a lesson I live by daily. In our fast-paced technological world today, we need more creativity in our lives. John taught me how to build my confidence in art. Confidence to go beyond, more profound, higher, and farther and take the journey into the imagination, discovery, and self-discovery. John’s lessons were a gift that kept on giving. I cherish his lesson in flowers! He encouraged me to buy flowers to understand the theory of composition. Arranging the flowers in a vase combined several complexities and problems to solve including color, space, shape, size, and shadow. The mixed media piece was one of my school projects from John’s class. I saved this piece of art from my art school days because we worked on it together. Flowers created an illusion that continues to inspire my digital art.

Fond Memories

After leaving Paier, the teacher and mentor relationship changed to friendship. We had a close circle of friends, a connection to Paier, and a life-long friendship. I enjoyed so many wonderful, good times and many openings and showings of John’s work. His art shows were always magical and beautifully theatrical.


John Massimino by Tery Spataro

John Massimino by Tery Spataro – fond memory of Jane, Karen, and me showing up at John’s to celebrate all our birthdays together.

He planted creative seeds that continue to grow in us, continue to grow as we celebrate and honor our dear friend, John Massimino. John Massimino was one of the most talented, brilliant, creative, and kind-hearted souls I have had the good fortune to have in my life. John will be sorely missed by all those who knew him—his family and extended family, who he cherished, friends, students, and colleagues. My heart goes out to Neva, Anthony, and John’s grandchildren Antonio and Angelina in this most challenging time. Even though I feel this sadness, I celebrate John’s life with great joy. I will always be grateful for the friendship and mentorship that John Massimino gave me. His lessons and kindness have been a lifelong inspiration. John hoped everyone would honor beauty and art in the world around us through everything we do. He believed art is everyone’s birthright and creative expression is truly the secret to life’s greatest joys.

Love you, John.

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