Born in Wiesbaden, Germany, John Van Sickel was a military child of Kansas parents. After his dad retired they settled back in Topeka, KS where he attended Washburn University. John graduated with a BFA and studied with Jack Wright, Robert Soppelsa, Tom Esser, and Ed Navone. While in school, John also won the Pollack Purchase Award for his art, which is now part of the permanent collection in the Mulvane Art Museum. After graduation, John continued his education and attended Washington University in St. Louis where he earned an MFA in ceramic arts and taught at the Craft Alliance. John returned to Topeka, where he worked in the Fine Arts Department of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library and taught Beginning Ceramics classes at his alma mader Washburn University. His work includes large scale ceramic sculpture, collage, photography, and painting. John's paintings are often larger-than-life and feature flowers, animals, or the landscape. Vivid color and fine detail make his work stand out, and the finished pieces demonstrate fine technique and brush control.