John Pils: One of St. Louis’ most popular artists retires

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) — One of St. Louis’ most popular artists has retired.  After decades of drawing St. Louis landmarks, John Pils has called it quits.  Dan Gray reports in the FOX Files how Pils has been a great artist and a great retailer.

Pils told Dan, “The first drawing was St. Louis in the round and everybody said, ‘Well it’s upside down. I don’t understand this.'”

John Pils learned from that first drawing the public wanted something easy to recognize and to be proud of, “The key that’s going to turn the lock is if it’s part of your neighborhood or there may be a minute part of the drawing if there’s a little piece of Ted Drewes that’s cool.”

Pencil and watercolor illustrations line the walls of his Chesterfield home. Before going out on his own, Pils spent several years working at interior design firms and the May Company, “I worked for a few different designers and then I decided I could do this on my own, so I realized the price they were charging, so I undercut everybody.”

Thousands of Pils posters have been sold.  At one time he had five retail stores in the St. Louis area. He masteredart and the retail world.  The 74-year-old artist says it’s time to retire. He wants to spend more time with his wife, who has cancer.  His pencils and brushes are put away, but the artwork will still be popular, “Everybody knows the artwork, but they don’t know the artist. They don’t recognize the artist. I can go anywhere I want and be myself.”

Even though he has stopped drawing, John Pils sketches will still be available at the Missouri History Museum.

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