Carving a Path: Meet VP of Creative, John Garvin

Each member of the Liithos team is carving a unique path. Get to know the team starting with VP of Creative, John Garvin.

From impossible to inevitable, that is Liithos' motto. Like great sculptors that intentionally chip away at impossible slabs of stone to uncover the masterpiece beneath, we are a conduit for games and media. Our team is carefully selected for their talent and skills. Each with a story, each with lessons learned. Today, we're introducing you to one of our founders and VP of Creative, John Garvin. With an exceptional blend of artistic vision and technological expertise, John brings a wealth of experience and passion for innovation to our company. Let's dive into his inspiring journey and learn more about his remarkable accomplishments.

John's creative journey reflects the essence of Liithos, where the convergence of innovation and creation thrives. From the tranquil and persistent to the vibrant and chaotic, John has traversed the artist's path in pursuit of mastering his craft.

Inspiration & Mentorship

Drawing inspiration from diverse sources, John's passion for storytelling stems from his academic background. With a Master's degree in English, he immersed himself in studying literature from the past millennium, with a particular focus on Shakespeare's works. Shakespeare, as one of the pioneers of modern storytelling, captivated John with his ability to breathe life into characters and delve into their "inner" worlds. Alongside literature, John finds inspiration in movies of all genres, science fiction novels, and young adult stories. His love for art and cartooning led him to author two books on early 1900s cartooning schools, showcasing his dedication and expertise.

Taking a bath in the gold market John Garvin

During John's illustrious career, he encountered a mentor who left an indelible mark on his creative journey. Decades ago, he met and studied with Carl Barks. Barks is the visionary Disney artist credited with inventing beloved characters like Donald Duck, Uncle Scrooge, and the entire duck universe. Barks retired to Oregon, where John resides, to continue his fine-art cartoon oil painting career. This encounter sparked John's passion for this unique art form which he continues to practice to this day. This led him to publish two books on Barks' legacy. The impact of Barks' writing, characterized by gentle humor, outlandish set pieces, and relatable characterizations, greatly influenced John's approach to storytelling. Raiders of the Lost Ark was inspired by an Uncle Scrooge story -- both Lucas and Spielberg are huge Barks fans.

Innovation & Projects

When asked about exciting changes coming to the gaming industry and technology, John's eyes lit up as he mentioned AI.

"We are living in a new age and most of us are only beginning to realize the important changes that are coming, that are here in many ways, and that are going to revolutionize everything about our lives." -John Garvin

In his work, John is utilizing both Midjourney and ChatGPT in many ways, referencing how the software is like collaborating with another writer or artist. Although AI is not yet poised to replace humans, it has already transformed his work style. John envisions our current era as the AI Age, leaving a lasting imprint on history.

Although John is known for his work on games like Days Gone and Syphon Filter, right now, his favorite project is currently working with Liithos, mostly due to it being the most recent. Collaborating with a gifted group of artists and producers, John has enjoyed creating the IP, writing it, and authoring the first six issues of the comic. He loves comics because he doesn't have to wait six years to share his stories with an audience! (We love that we'll get to share it with you soon too! :D)

While John's expertise lies primarily in the realm of games, he embraces a wide range of creative pursuits. Last year, he completed his first novel, Carson Halloway and the Amber Ghost, a YA sci-fi exploration of a non-Christian view of the afterlife. He is currently revising the novel and working on its sequel, contributing to a captivating trilogy. Additionally, John has dedicated the past 35 years to painting in oils, showcasing his artistic talents and love for visual expression.

Advice for Newcomers and Leaders

Closing out our introduction with John, we wanted to pass along a bit of knowledge to those looking to carve their path in video games or storytelling.

Newcomers looking to carve their path.

"Number one: your career isn't as important as your family. Always remember that. The one thing you will never get back in life is time. It's hard to remember this when you're at the start of a career and it seems the only way forward is through lots of hours and hard work. But I promise you, when you get to the other end, awards and money and fans won't mean as much as having lived a full life outside of work."

Leaders looking to lead the way.

"Embrace work from home. Having spent 40 years in studios, I get why in-person collaboration is important. I also saw, firsthand, how much time was wasted in offices. The reality for most people today, post-pandemic, is that we see how much of our lives were spent in cars and subways and trains commuting; we see how much of our time to spend time with family was robbed from us. If it's possible to make remote work a reality, do it. The game industry in particular is terrible about how much it asks of us. As a creator, I say it's time it becomes an equal partnership."

Connect with John:
YouTube Channel:
Paintings Portfolio:
Book Collection: