This mural was one of the worse experiences in John's career. The commission came as a recommendation from the interior designer in charge of remodelling the saloon, located in Bay Village, Ohio. The problem was the client. After agreeing on an idea he kept changing his mind, which he did often. Finally, when the final design was underway (John simply took off on his own) this client, worried over deadlines and the upcoming opening day of the place, kept pestering him about the project, in fact, the worse thing you could do to an artist who is trying to not get distracted.
But what really killed all remaining civility, was that after the mural was done and praised by all (becoming a focal point of the place), and the opening of the establishment was a huge success, the client did not pay the remainder of the contract. What John called "a dead-beat rat of a client" had gone over budget leaving several other creditors in a bind. Not wanting to go to court over the affair (legal fees would eventually be greater than the debt) John decided to put the business behind him and move on. Considering that on another similar occasion John took a more radical action when dealing with this kind of weasel (once he whited out a mural in a matter of minutes), this client got off easy.
The Moosehead Saloon Mural, 1995.
John has admirers in all walks of life. When an influential patron/client of John heard about the affair, he personally wanted to resolve the issue but John gracefully declined the offer; destiny brings its own brand of retribution. About the mural: sealed with a sepia-vintage finish, the mural was painted on canvas and then glued on the wall. It represents a Norman Rockwell-style vignette about the final score on two football rivals -Bay Village and Westlake. In the painting it's the final of the fourth quarter, the score is tied, and the ball is in the air. The clue to who scored the final point and won the game is in the mural.