Henry Moore Studios & Gardens, Perry Green, Much Hadham, 2012
The first of four sons born to Erma and Peter Raimondi in May of 1948, the artist spent his early years in a working-class neighborhood of East Boston. His parents lived in an apartment above a hobby shop, which, as a child, fascinated him and he began building model kits with skill and attention to detail. His family bought a home and moved to Winthrop, a coastal suburb of Boston, when John was ten, and he began honing his creative skills while developing an eye for the beauty of nature that surrounded him.
As a young man, he spent much of his time in the company of his family and enjoying the solitude of drawing and painting. His childhood interest in model cars (which won him many awards) evolved as he grew into adolescence, and soon he was designing and building full-size "hot rods" that were as unique and imaginative as the young man himself. These early creative endeavors proved invaluable in the artist's keen ability to comprehend scale and dimensions — two of the elements that are so essential in his work today, and he began to master working in metal and other three-dimensional materials.
After graduating from Winthrop High School, John studied art for a year at the Portland School of Fine & Applied Art (now the Maine College of Art), where he first ventured into the world of three-dimensional art under the tutelage of Norman Therrien. In 1969 Raimondi was attending the Massachusetts College of Art, where he made the bold venture into creating monumental sculpture. It was a medium that immediately captivated and motivated his considerable artistic vision and creative drive. Recognition came quickly, and he was invited to exhibit his work at Boston City Hall, local galleries, and museums. This led to Raimondi's second prominent commission, awarded to him in a national competition conducted by the I-80 Bicentennial Sculpture Project.
This sculpture, entitled "Erma's Desire", is named for the artist’s mother, in homage to her intense desire for the happiness of her children. Located in Grand Island, Nebraska, the work was considered controversial, due to what some people perceived as a suggestive title and its abstract form. The controversy was debated fiercely in several major publications and on the TV news program "60 Minutes," catapulting Raimondi into the national spotlight. Since then several films, books, and publications, as well as a National Public Radio feature have been produced and broadcasted about Raimondi’s vision and work.