Remembering St. Louis art legend John Pils

Missouri

ST. LOUIS — The St. Louis art community lost one of their most beloved members on Monday when John Pils passed away at the age of 82.

His legacy of work has been displayed in homes and offices over the decades. Black and white pencil-drawn graphics of local landmarks and cityscapes with splashes of vibrant watercolor were commonplace. Hot air balloons often punctuated pieces.

“He saw things in just a unique way as far as the skylines and horizons and the city,” reflected his son Kirk Pils. “He enjoyed working with watercolor. To add that to what would be an illustration or a rendering of the city, it just made sense to him.

When he put down the pencil and paint in 2014, John Pils looked forward to leaving the public eye, although the prints would remain.

“Everybody knows the artwork but they don’t know the artist,” he said. ” They don’t recognize the artist. I can go anywhere and be myself.”

Pils’ background was in interior design and he took that discipline alongside his artistic flair when he built his custom home two years ago.

“I was told he didn’t like 90-degree angles, so they really limited those on the main level,” said Michael Golde of Golde Real Estate. “The basement, he had the wine room, which he designed with corks 360-degrees and wine, floor to ceiling. He really liked that room.”

Pils’ collection left an everlasting impression featuring a local flavor that appeals to any palette.

“He constantly challenged himself to do something that would be of significance for what he could be proud of as an accomplishment and that would be significant for others,” said Kirk Pils.

Prints of Pils’ work are available at the Missouri History Museum.

“The key that’s going to turn the lock is that it’s part of your neighborhood in there,” reflected John Pils in 2014. “But if there’s a little piece of Ted Drewes in there, then that’s cool.”

Visitation will be held on Jan. 3 at Schrader Funeral Home in Ballwin from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. The funeral will be held the following day at 11:00 a.m. at Pathfinder Church in Ellisville.

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