John Faulkner was born in London , England on June 16, 1918. His father, Charles Faulkner, and mother, Florence Moudon, were in the drapery industry. John’s grandfather on his father’s side was a farmer. His maternal grandfather, Gustav Moudon, was a Swiss painter who may have influenced John’s artistic interests and aptitude. Charles Faulkner died suddenly in 1930 when John was age 12.
John attended Russel School and The Drapers School in his youth, where he concentrated on sports and art.
In 1939 at the start of World War II, John enlisted and joined the Royal Rifle Brigade. He fought on the front lines of the Allied invasion and liberation of France until wounded during a bombing attack. Unfortunately, while John was at the front his mother died. In 1946 after being honorably discharged, John began his pursuit of the life and education of an artist. He studied and traveled extensively in Europe at the end of the 40s and early 50s and spent time under the tutelage of French painter Francois Desnoyer (1894 – 1972); John subsequently taught painting and drawing and found inspiration for his work in Spain and Italy. John returned to England to attend Saint Martin’s School of Art in London and Brighton College of Art in Sussex, where he obtained his master’s degree in 1952.
About that same time John met a young lady who worked at His Master’s Voice Records in London, a shop he frequented with great regularity. Angela Mary Hare was studying to become nurse in Sussex and she and John were married on January 30, 1954. They settled in Woodbridge, Suffolk, where John taught art at the Abbey School shortly thereafter he became the Art Master at the Woodbridge School. John formed the Woodbridge Art Group, members of which were primarily the spouses of US Officers stationed at RAF Lakenheath and RAF Bentwaters.
In 1959, John, Angela, and their two sons Julian and James moved from Woodbridge to St. Day in Cornwall. Later that year, their third son, Matthew, was born. In Cornwall, John was an art teacher at Redruth School of Art. In the early 60s, John and Angela purchased a 16th Century Cottage in the village of Grampound. The cottage had a significant historic past: it had been the home of a Colonel Box who fought in the Battle of Waterloo. During this period John was a member of two art groups: the Penwith Society and Newlyn Society in St. Ives. He developed friendships with other Cornwall-based artists and writers such as Daphne du Maurier, Denis Mitchel, Barbara Hepworth, Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon and others. The subject of much of his drawing and painting at this time was the fantastical scene-scapes of the Cornish tin mines.
In 1965, John began teaching art at Cornwall’s Exeter University. In late 1966 a couple from Wales and South Africa who were traveling around the world asked to park their VW camper in the Faulkner driveway at Box Cottage. Graham and Doreen Evans now lived in Santa Cruz, California, and invited the Faulkners to come check out the California dream. In 1967, the Faulkner’s moved to the United States. They were passengers on the final transatlantic journey of the Queen Mary. Angela’s paternal grandmother had traveled to New York on the maiden journey in 1934. Because of this unique symmetry, Angela and the family were interviewed by CBS Evening News upon their arrival in NYC. Though Angela had family in New York, John was determined to get to California. In 1967 when ‘hippieness’ was just taking off, they did; and they found it to be their kind of place. They moved into an old farm-house on Ocean St. Extension surrounded by plum orchards and organic farms. John was hired to repair a mural on a ceiling of a Victorian house and did some illustration work for a publishing company. Within the year, John began teaching at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Cabrillo College, De Anza College, Foothill College, Monterey Peninsula College and others.
John participated in many of the Open Studios put on by Santa Cruz County. His studio, situated close to his home on Ocean Street, was part of the tour. During this time John also designed a set for the Santa Cruz Theatre Company’s production of “No Exit” by Jean Paul Sartre. In 1987 the Loma Prieta Earthquake struck the Bay Area and Santa Cruz. John’s studio had significant damage. He was featured in a story that appeared in the Santa Cruz Sentinel shortly thereafter about local artist who’s studios had been damaged by the tremblor. In the early 90’s John and Angela moved to the westside of Santa Cruz close to the beach. With some of the most beautiful coastal areas in Northern California as inspiration, John began a series of oil paintings called the Ocean Suites in which he explored the mood of the ocean, sky, and shoreline and their relation to complete emptiness. John continued to teach into the late 80s. He worked, mostly painting, every day and took frequent walks with his dog Spencer. John suffered a heart attack and died on January 6th, 1993. His spirit lives on in his large collection of work, and through his family.