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A native of Clarksburg, West Virginia, John Holyfield was orphaned and reared by his grandmothers. With an interest in art through grade school, Holyfield was encouraged by teachers, family and friends to continue his studies at Howard University and the University of D.C. to major in graphic design. In school, John's interests switched from graphic design to fine arts. John's work has a strong southern folksy feel, capturing the essence of rural life. John paints with the maturity of a much older artist through the use of images that seem from an era past, yet with timeless messages. John's main themes are family, spirituality, and culture. For much of the subject matter, he draws from his family members, childhood memories and stories from his grandmothers. The work of artists Ernie Barnes, Norman Rockwell, and Frederic Leighton have inspired Holyfield's painting style.