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John was born and raised in Durango, Colorado. After a 4 year term in the Air Force, which he joined right out of high school, John settled in Santa Barbara, California. It was there that he furthered his education and began his career in the high tech computer industry. Beginning as a technical writer and illustrator, John eventually became a manufacturing engineer with the company and traveled extensively to the Orient and Mexico setting up foreign production facilities.
While John was traveling and manufacturing intricate computer parts his passion for creating arts and crafts remained strong. In the late 1960′s he joined a small group of artisans who set up their displays every Sunday along a strip of beachfront park in Santa Barbara. Now known as “Sunday at the Beach” the show is still in existence with more than 200 artists and craftsmen exhibiting their work. John remained with the Sunday beach show for over 20 years exhibiting an evolving array of fine crafts from resin Tiffany style lamps and clocks, bronze sculptures of native American images, fine wood kaleidoscopes, wooden country style clocks, the wildly popular wooden Southwest folk art of the late 80′s and finally a line of rustic Southwestern style furniture.
During the years that he worked full time and exhibited his art work on weekends, John decided to venture out full time into the art and craft show circuit up and down the California coast. This lasted for 4 years until the early 80′s, at which time the craft show industry experienced a down turn and John returned to his former employer and once again found himself manufacturing computer tape heads by day and Southwestern home accessories by night. But the company closed its doors in 1993 and John was faced with a major decision that turned out to be not too difficult at all…..to look for other work in the computer industry or grow his small sideline into a full time full scale business.
The decision made, he and his wife, Betsy, pulled up stakes, said good bye to their family and left California for Phoenix, where Montoya Designs, LLC arose out of the ashes. Since then John’s pieces of art furniture have evolved into a unique blend of wood, metal, tile, hand painting and stone inlay. His tables, chests, credenzas, mirrors and unique wall art combine rustic elements and fine wood to create pieces that are both natural and sophisticated.