John M. Clum was born August 19, 1953 in Lyons, NY, the son of two Pentecostal ministers. Early in his childhood there were signs of his creativity, but circumstances were not conducive to allowing this part of him to emerge.
At the age of 16 he left the loving but strict supervision of his family in Syracuse, NY, and moved into a commune in Boston, MA. Learning of life's diversity and alternatives firsthand at an early age, he opened himself to many different religious beliefs and alternative lifestyles. He returned to Syracuse to finish High School and graduated in 1971. It was a restless time, full of enriching life experiences resulting in the resolution of major issues. In 1979 he met a wonderful man named Alan Robbins, who would share his life from that point on. Many of the voids in his life were resolved in this relationship. Eleven years into their relationship Al recognized the manifestations of John's creative tendencies. He began to encourage John to follow in the steps of his grandfather, a stained glass artist from Elmira, NY.
In 1990 at age 37 John embarked on a new journey of self discovery as an artist. He began working in stained glass. At the same time he would enter a dark period of passage that would intensify his passion for life and art. His sister Joy announced that she was dying of breast cancer. John's last gift to her would be a stained glass window that would hang by her bed until she died in 1991. Five months before his sister died John was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
During this period of his life, with Al's encouragement and support, John decided to pursue his intense need to record life as he saw it. In 1993 he took up formal studies in studio art at Binghamton University in Binghamton, NY. John has studied under artist, printmaker, and painter Linda Sokolowski, the late artist and sculptor Charles Eldred, and artists and painters Don DeMauro and David Shapiro.