John Sykes Biography

Born in England in 1859. Sykes had a rift with his father at age 25 and left home. He then immigrated to Santa Barbara, CA where he remained.

Missions were a favorite subject of his paintings; some were done on whale vertebrae. Apparently he lived on some sort of legacy; however, during his last decade the money dried up and he lived in great poverty. He was considered an eccentric, refused to eat meat or to have electricity in his tiny house. Always dressed quite nattily in a gray suit and swinging a cane, Sykes was a familiar sight on the streets of Santa Barbara until his demise on Dec. 3, 1934.

In: Santa Barbara and San Obispo Historical Societies; Carmel Mission.

Source: Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes