John LaFree was born in Tampa, Florida and grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico (with life stops in Colorado, California, back to Florida, back to California, then back to Florida again, Ohio, and now back in Florida). He is a self-taught artist who learned how to draw by taking tracing paper to comic books, the Sunday funnies and MAD Magazine (especially the artwork of Mort Drucker).
As a young man, John listened to far too many "educated" people who warned him that a person cannot make a living as an artist. He, therefore, chose the more likely path to success.... ACTING! He studied theatre at the University of New Mexico where he had the pleasure of living and working with a group of some of the finest and most passionate performers, designers, technicians, directors and writers that the entertainment industry has to offer.
It was a journey that included several small successes on small stages and even smaller screens. But all good things, as they say, come to an end. John reached a point in his life (let's just say it was his 30th birthday) when he suddenly realized that it wasn't the performing that he loved, it was the applause. It wasn't the role he craved, it was getting cast in the role. It was the affirmation that, regardless of whether or not his performance was applause-worthy, he would be told that he was "good enough".
Enlightened, John became obsessed with revisiting his creative roots as a visual artist. And, once again, he aimed his sights on the most direct route to success... CARICATURE ARTIST AT A THEME PARK! He began his retail caricature career at Busch Gardens in Florida where he had the pleasure of working and living with some of the finest and talented caricature artists in the industry (there actually IS a caricature industry, folks).
It was a journey that included several large noses on a few unstable easels with even fewer big paychecks. But all good things, as they keep saying, come to an end. John reached a point in his life (let's just say Father's Day 2010) when he suddenly realized that it wasn't people that he loved, it was dogs. It wasn't a day job as an artist that he craved, it was being a freelance and self-employed artist.
With the support of his awesome wife Jessica, John now lives a harmonious life that is balanced perfectly between quality time with his family and quality time at his easel. John, Jessica, Alexander, Annika and Jackson are currently living happily ever after somewhere on the gulf coast of Florida....several miles north of "good enough".