John Leben was born on October 17, 1945 in Chicago. He has been married since 1971 and has two daughters. John Leben is an active artist as well as the owner and president of Leben Productions, Inc., a media production company. He has a BFA in Painting from the University of Illinois in Champaign (1968), and an MFA in Painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (1971).
As an artist, John’s passion has always encompassed a wide variety of media. He learned the ancient arts of fresco and glass mosaic in the woods of Northern Maine as a scholarship student at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (1968). At the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, he built robots, experimented with Xerox technology in paintings, and inched closer to electronic media, in both his imagery and his tools. He graduated with honors in 1971 winning the Kuniyoshi Traveling Fellowship which paid for a 6-week tour of European museums, galleries and churches.
After returning from Europe, John worked as a painter in Chicago exhibiting in several group shows and having a one man show at the Michael Wyman Gallery on Ontario Street. His paintings of this period utilized Xerox technology for developing images with a theme of degeneration caused by the involvement of technology. John worked the Chicago gallery scene for two years winning critical acclaim for his work.