“The art history classes were amazing...I liked that we could express our opinions to professors and they appreciated our ideas.”
May 10, 2024

This Late Bloomer Found His Path in Painting

When John-Charles Ofmani was growing up, he thought he had missed out on the artistic gene that ran in his family.  “Everyone in my family had some type of creative talent except me,” he said. “I couldn’t even draw a stick figure.”  Fast forward to this month, when John graduates from PCCC with his Associate in Fine Arts (AFA) Degree and an impressive collection of artworks to his name. Apparently, he did inherit the family trait for art, but was just a late bloomer.

John’s talent was sparked by a recreational art course he took after high school.  “I wasn’t going to take the course. I told the teacher I couldn’t even draw,” said John, “ but she insisted that everyone could draw and just needed to learn the right techniques.” John didn’t believe her, but he was intrigued enough to try the class. To his amazement, he leaned to draw quite well and remained in that art class over its entire six-month run, drawing, painting, and even creating ceramics, an art form he especially enjoys.

 Discouraged by a high school experience he found alienating, it wasn’t until 20 years later that John considered college. “I was working at a warehouse and reached a point where it felt like my life was just going in circles, and I needed to do something.”    

John with two of his paintings in the PCCC Juried Student Art Show 2023. (Top) Sunset Beauty (Bottom)  Old Shack which received the Honorable Mention prize.

He enrolled at PCCC in Fall of 2021, decided to major in art, and had a breakthrough educational experience.  A high achiever, John was accepted into the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and found his place both academically and personally at PCCC. “There was more acceptance here than I felt in high school,” he said. “I liked that we could express our opinions to professors and they appreciated our ideas.”

 John especially enjoyed lively conversations with recently retired Professor Mary Dajnak, the former coordinator of the Studio Arts program. “She was great to talk to and liked when students had strong opinions about art.” But it was the art history courses that John found most compelling.  “The classes were amazing, and our professor loved the collective knowledge of the students in the class,” he said, explaining that the students each brought to the class a special interest in different periods of art history, making for vibrant discussions and communal learning.

An avid fan of art history, John favors the high Renaissance and Baroque periods, but also enjoys the Impressionists as well as the often lesser studied artworks of the Eastern cultures, especially Japanese. The artist he most admires is the German Renaissance painter Albrecht Durer, particularly for his skillful drawing and expertise in watercolor.

Old Shack;  John’s watercolor painting received the Honorable Mention award in PCCC’s Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition, 2023.

A prolific watercolorist himself, John has exhibited his paintings in PCCC’s  Annual Juried Student Art Exhibition for the past two years and won an Honorable Mention in the 2023 exhibition. Vivid color and scenes of nature or fantasy characterize much of John’s art. On his website, he describes his works as “narratives of wonder and deep thought with themes that depict visions of fantasy and natural beauty.” 

Though some have suggested John consider a teaching career, an idea he is open to, he is postponing further college to take a job and to continue creating and selling his art. “My artwork continues to evolve as I grow as an artist,” John writes on his website. “The future of my artwork is unknown, but the journey it takes me on and any followers of my art will be surprised at what the future holds.” 

A promotional postcard for the 2023 exhibition featured John’s watercolor  Sunset Beauty.

John’s watercolor “Dead and Buried,”  is one of three works by John featured in the 2024 student art exhibition. This work represents a departure from the artist’s more familiar focus on nature and vivid color.