John J Mathis @ Tatsu Maker Works

John J Mathis

"I moved to Asia from America in 2003, and then to Singapore in 2009. Most recently I spent ten years in advertising, directing campaigns and guiding creative communications across Asia-Pacific. 

I have the most wonderful daughter, Isabelle. Tragically, her mother passed away in 2016, and Izzy and I, along with our dog, Tatsu, continue together in Singapore.


Izzy was four when her mother passed and a little under a year later my father, Izzy’s grandfather, passed; Izzy has grown with a mature understanding of life and death and the in-between, and we’ve held on to each other through the disorienting heartbreak.  Talking about Izzy’s dreams, stories and characters in her imaginary worlds, and bringing them to life through art became our therapeutic bonding force, the light and comfort that brought us even closer together to help each other heal.


From the time of her mother’s passing, Izzy’s imagination has been a torrent of stories to express her thoughts and feelings of the moment, much better than she can articulate.

I started to illustrate her stories as a bridge between us to help explore her emotions and concerns, and to guide me through her discoveries and growth. Her characters and adventures flow and journey from stark conflict tinged with loss, to discovery and wonder, to hope and redemption. As we’ve grown, our stories together have also grown to include more about our journey together in Singapore.

From early pieces in watercolor, colored pencil, and collage, I migrated to linocut printmaking where I’ve found a medium where we can keep telling her, and our, stories together, and hopefully share them with a wider audience."