How to Start My Biographic Portrait?

How to Start My Biographic Portrait?

1. Choose the most comfortable size for you. 
Don't worry about the details because the size determines the amount of details to put in a painting without it feeling too crowded. Always choose the biggest size that you can. The largest paintings are the most powerful and can evoke wonderful emotions. In a way they share how epic your life really has been by placing all of your best memories into one painting.

2. How many items can you put in the different sizes? This also depends on the size. We created a list below as suggestions. (The most important items are "HAVE TO" items.) Share your best stories in life, interests, collections, best memories.

Narrative Biographical Portrait Commission Suggestions

Main items in your painting

16" x 20" 1-3 items

24" x 30" 3-5 items

30" x 40" 3-7 items

36" x 48" 3-10 items

48" x 72" 3-20 items

72" x 96" 3-30 items

Items mean places, animals, signs, objects, vehicles, memories, ideas

  •  Pets
  • Favorite destinations (where you went or where you want to go)
  • Dream life, dream car, dream house.......
  • Job or dream job
  • Important symbols to you, ie; key, heart, lock, ladder, hammer, etc.
  • Fantasy world, historical, surreal, adventure....
  • Any commission ideas that are not for commercial use are submitted here.

3. Tell me your life story in a few paragraphs or a few pages. The details of your life can help me understand your character, personality, interests which I can use as a way of constructing your world. I will decide which pieces fit the main idea and look the best together.

4. Send pictures of things important to you and pictures of you in Dropbox to johnniegrinder.

5. Connect on Facebook with Johnnie Grinder if you can, so I can see your world and learn more about you for your painting.

These are suggestions. You can decide what is the most important to you. You don't need
to design the painting. That is what I do. Just tell me your story the best you can. This will be a lot of fun.  Enjoy the process and I will ask you more questions later if needed.

Order your portrait now! Click the link here: MAKE MY PORTRAIT. 
Send your life story to

A Backpack and a Sketchbook is All I Really Need

After 13 years of traveling around Asia, I told myself that on this last trip I wouldn't come back to the USA until I finished my book project. Well, I am back and the book is finished.

Tunnel of The MInd

 The book is titled "Tunnels of the Mind". It is an illustrated adventure that uses pipes as a symbol of connection between people we meet, the books we read, and the experiences we have, past, present, and future. It started when I sold everything I had and headed to Europe with my sketchbooks and a backpack. I lived cheap staying in hostels in Paris sketching the people I met and the collecting ideas around me. Some of my favorite paintings came from sketches that I started in Paris, Prague, Tokyo, Kyoto, Bangkok, and Taipei.e The sketchbooks kept filling up and it turned out that on this journey I had filled up nearly fifty sketchbooks with enchanted forests, cyborgs, friendly creatures, post apocalyptic adventures, and pharmaceutical nightmares. I am still pulling from these sketchbooks to create new paintings. It was a great experience finishing this it lead me to my life today in Brooklyn, New York.



One of these sketches I finally painted last week and put the Giclee prints in the online store. It is the "Gas Mask Boy". He is an adventurer that is a true survivor. He can get through toxic environments, and deal with toxic people. He holds the key in his hand to unlock his dreams as he journeys onward and upward. He is a bit like the "the Fool", in the tarot cards, starting out on a grand journey to chase his dreams and to never give up until he creates the life he is always imagined. Which leads me to my own story as I landed in Brooklyn, New York to build a life in this magical and chaotic city, always striving to improve, and always climbing through the tunnels that will lead me to my dreams.