John Cassin is for the most part a self-taught artist. His high school art teacher, Mr. Talman Budd, noticed that John had an aptitude for creating sculpture from clay and became John's mentor for the next four years. There were field trips to Museum of Fine Arts Boston, journeys to local museums, after school sculpture classes and a yearly pilgrimage to Cornish New Hampshire to visit the beautiful studios and galleries of the late Augustus Saint-Gaudens. John entered a clay bust in a national show and came home with an Honorable mention and the inspiration to purse a career in the arts
Art School in Boston did not go well for John. Instead of attending classes, most days were spent either at the Museum of Fine Arts, or at the Fogg Museum in Harvard Square, or even the Boston Public Library. He could also be found at the Isabel Stuart Gardner Museum sketching antiquities and sculptures or maybe just sitting looking at the Sargent in the galleria, anywhere but the classroom. Soon he was asked to leave his school. So with his sketchbook and pens and no looking back, John set out to find his destiny. Twenty years and fourty different jobs later, John decided to once again turn his attention to sculpture. Early on he discovered carving figures in wood came naturally. To learn the basics of shaping stone he spent a few weeks each year at The Carving Studio in Rutland Vermont, located right beside the immense abandoned marble quarries. There he studied under Fredrick X. Brownstein and listened to Fred’s stories of Michelangelo and his ups and downs. Fredrick had spent years in Italy studying with the master carvers, learning from the best in the world. Frederick showed John the basic hand carving tools, and how and when to use them. These were the same as the tools the ancients used. The same methods the ancients employed. To John this was paradise and a revelation and many stone and wood pieces were to follow. Twenty years later, due to an illness that temporarily sidelined the heavy lifting of stone and logs, John turned his attention to painting. He started out by painting portraits of animals for his grandchildren. Then large paintings. There was no room in their home for more so in the hiatus he started painting the local scenery, barns mainly, an important part of a disappearing world. His wife Mary says” get them out of the house, I need to clean”. And so the story goes.