John attended the Wellington Technical College School of Art in 1947 whilst also training as an art teacher. His varied career included many years spent teaching, as well as time spent in London and Paris exploring and developing his printmaking skills.
John's public works include a number of large-scale murals for New Zealand public buildings – the Beehive, The IBM Centre (now in Broadcasting House) and the Auckland University School of Architecture. His work has been exhibited throughout the world and is held in international collections, including the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the San Francisco Museum and the Museo Lugano in Switzerland.
In 1978 he was awarded an MBE and in 2002 received an Honorary Doctorate of Literature from Massey University. John’s impact as an artist, printmaker, craftsman and family man is far-reaching and is kept alive with the support of his family, by all those who were taught by him and by those who through his work, continue to be influenced by him. In 2008 the publication ‘John Drawbridge’ by Ron Sang was launched at Massey, and offers a splendid record of John’s art and his contribution to the art world.