Between cleaning floors and windows, UVU Custodian John Boyce Ross creates. This auto didactic artist expresses himself through different mediums which include: writing music, playing guitar, film and drawing. Boyce has been interested in art ever since he was a child and has continued to grow his collection of artistic talent throughout his life.
Texas-born Boyce came to Utah Valley after serving a mission in Italy for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—a religion he now no longer practices. He attended UVU for an English degree, where he wrote for The Review between studying. There was a point where he felt like he would’ve made the wrong compromise if he were to continue with his education. He decided to take a hiatus from school to do what he wanted.
“If I have to be somewhere and use my time, which is extremely valuable to me, to do someone else’s bidding at least, it is something pleasurable and something that I’m into” Boyce said.
Boyce played in a band called The Troubles for about five or six years. They toured around playing what Boyce would describe as “ gutter country” and put out a good record.
What Boyce loves most is the spiritual moment he experiences on stage. “ It’s like a half animalistic, half diving feeling during the performance and it’s just the best,” Boyce said.
After the band went their separate ways, Boyce found small projects to do with his musical abilities. He and his buddy Drew Danburry created The Funny Uncles, inspired by Full House’s Uncle Jesse and Uncle Joey. This duo recently put out a record called “ Writin’ Songs”, a compilation of 100 fake jingles for real companies like Nabisco and Redbull. You can occasionally find Boyce onstage with The Temples, another band he enjoys performing with. Being behind the camera is another activity Boyce thrives on. He’s filmed five music videos and ads in the last year. He also plans to continue to grow as a director.
Inspired by R Crumb and other artists, Boyce also expresses himself through drawing. Once his talented prints were exposed to social media, his friends asked how much he would charge for each one. Boyce said it was hard at first to put a price on what his time and talent were worth.
“You aren’t taught that in school and I think it’s a really important thing to learn your value,” Boyce said. He is still learning about how to value worth. “ I’m not always concerned with things being perfect,” he said. “I’m all for those moments where you can see the reach, and they still grasp it, but it’s not the most graceful thing you’ll ever seen.”
When asked to describe his style, Boyce said “ It’s punk in the sense that it’s not formally trained. It’s…it’s just fun shit. It’s stuff that I want to see exist. It’s mine. That’s what it is, it’s mine.”