John Clark Askwith (Asquith)
On August 29, 1943 as the brilliant rays of the sun appeared over the never ending skies of Great Falls, Montana John Clark Askwith took his first breath. John’s parents.Thelma and Harold Askwith, were overjoyed at the birth of their son. When the second war ended Harold returned home and moved the family to Tilden, Nebraska where his paternal great grandparents settled. John was always grateful he spent his youth in a small town and especially loved long summer days at the local swimming pool. In 1965 he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Wayne State College where he met his wife Sharon Sulka. They were married the following New Year’s Eve and moved to Indiana where both he and his wife taught school. Two years later he began his graduate work at the Art Institute of Chicago then attended and graduated with a MS from Illinois Institute of Technology and Design where he later taught graduate printmaking. He discovered that the original spelling of his last name was Asquith and began using it to sign his art work.
John’s artistic talent was evident even as a child and as he matured he became a master of multiple mediums. Art patrons, critics. curators, and others took notice of his drawings, acrylic paintings, serigraphs, constructions, vacuum formed sculpture, ceramics, and airbrush portraits. His art was exhibited in galleries and juried competitions throughout the nation. Corporations, collectors, individuals , and many others purchased his work. John became a highly respected member of the art community. Even as he accumulated so many awards, ribbons, and medals, he remained humble never displaying any honors, but instead he built a large creative box to hold all of them.
Fine art was not his only pursuit as he was an established graphic designer as well including books for Scott Foresman, various projects for the city of Chicago, design work for non profits, numerous businesses, private clients, poster designs for Ravina Park, Chicago Art In Public Places, and HP Focus On The Arts. All of these design achievements were important to him, but his longest and most treasured endeavor was Outside Magazine which was the adopted sibling of Mariah Magazine, which he and the publisher gave birth to in the mid-70 ‘s. When the magazine moved to Santa Fe, NM he relocated and remained with the publication until he retired . During his time as Design Director they won many awards including the National Magazine Award/General Excellence. Some other honors included the Art Award of Excellence, American Illustrators (art direction & Illustration) Who’s Who in the Midwest, Who’s Who in America (Index) 5th Annual UTNE Reader-Best Publication, in Art & Design Award.
Because the environment in which he lived and worked became a priority he remodeled his first home, designed and built his next two which reflected his sense of sculpture and design. They stand as testaments of his creativity and artistic nature. He frequently included something circular to the design of his art, homes and even the first covers of Mariah Magazine.
Most of all he was proud of his daughters, Seanra and Aberlynn who were fortunate to inherit some of their father ‘s talent. John was at home in the water and taught each of his grandchildren to dive and swim. He enticed them to dive in the deep end of the pool with various treasures they could keep. The kids gave him an appropriate T-shirt that read “Poppy, the man, the myth, the legend”. Besides his family John loved his dog Tango with his whole heart and was her personal nurse giving her insulin shots twice a day for years. Later traveling the world with his wife Sharon and gourmet dining ranked as two of his favorite pursuits. John was in remission from small cell lung cancer, but the aggressive treatment took its toll badly scarring his lungs which reduced his natural oxygen intake. He became dependent on high flow generated oxygen which limited his mobility and physically weakened him. Always the artist he continued to paint until his last day.
In Florida on October 4, 2019 with John’s daughter Aberlynn and his wife Sharon at his side he took his last breath. He is survived by his wife Sharon Askwith, their daughter Seanra Kalil, her husband Mike, sons Jack and Grant, their daughter Aberlynn Zeigler, her husband Bryan, son Parker, and daughter Tayla, his brother Regan Askwith and wife Janice. At his request there was no funeral or wake with only a private viewing before cremation.