John was born into a typical poverty stricken family in an economically depressed Oldham in 1924. As the only surviving son past infancy, John was expected to leave school at 14 and start "bringing some money in". This he did, working in a variety of jobs for the next four decades, whilst continuing to indulge his passion for painting. Often seen with paper and pencil, he even designed local railway advertising posters.
After spending five years as an adult at art evening classes, studying life drawing, John found himself faced with redundancy at the age of fifty six. Faced with the choice of starting a new job and new direction afresh, he decided it was time he did what he truly wanted to do, and become a full time artist. He eventually settled his studio at the Alexandra Centre in Uppermill, Lancashire. It was here that we first encountered John and his work in 1994, ourselves poverty stricken newly-weds; John offering to sell us a large painting, splitting the cost over three months. That was our first encounter with "northern art".
John achieved both commercial and critical success, and no more so than in the last ten years or so of his life. He had numerous successful solo exhibitions, ranging from Manchester, Falmouth and London, with his work being purchased by the House of Lords and now hanging in the Committee Rooms.
A book covering John's life and work, entitled John Thompson - "Do you like 'em then" was published in 2006. His work is seen firmly within the Northern School, including Alan Lowndes, Theodore Major and even L S Lowry.