John Maynor: (1948 - 2016)
Born: Springfield, Georgia
John and his siblings grew up on a farm in Springfield, Georgia he knew hard work from a very early age. He moved to Fort Pierce with his grandparents when he was about 9 years old. Once he moved to Fort Pierce and was able to get a job, he labored in the citrus fields. He used to work all day for $6 or $7, and he longed for a better life. Although his early years were not easy, his grandmother who raised him, his three brothers, and four sisters, gave him a good upbringing.
John didn’t like school and was often truant. John always loved to paint, while in school painting and drawing consumed all of his energies.
Maynor was painting long before he met Alfred Hair. When he heard that there was an artist in town making good money by painting landscapes, he went to meet him. While he credited Hair for the Highwaymen movement, his mentors were Livingston Roberts and Sam Newton. He said he knew he had talent, and that if he hung around Sam, Livingston, and Al Black, he could “learn a few things.” He picked up most of his painting techniques from watching them. He learned to sell by going on the road with Hair and Al Black.
Maynor was also a commercial artist. The Job Corp paid for him to go to commercial art school in San Marco, Texas, where he learned sign painting. His signs have been advertising businesses on and around Avenue D for decades.
John’s yard, as in traditional African American fashion in the South, was an extension of his living space. He had a designated exercise area, a few studio spaces for painting, and a garden space. In front of his house was an easel that displayed a large and colorful landscape. Signs on both sides of the road announced him to anyone who might be interested in a Highwayman painting. His home, where he has lived for about 20 years, was just down the road from the bus station. He was hopeful that this location would help attract people coming to the Fort Pierce area, he was always trying to market his works. As well as his paintings and signage, he also created bike tags.
John was known about town as “the man on a bicycle with a paintbrush” he once rode from Buford to Savannah Georgia, about 60 miles. The tag on the back of his bicycle reads, “Jesus n John.”
Maynor lived alone and was not married. He had five children, two of his sons are in prison. He was close to his oldest son, who looked out for him. John Maynor passed from this world on February 1, 2016, about a year after being interviewed for the Highwaymen Heritage Trail. He was 67 years old.
John Maynor Biography information: obtained from website thehighwaymentrail.com. This website is a fantastic reference to learn about the 26 Florida Highwaymen artists and their importance to Florida's history.