JohnOutterbridge was born in Greenville, North Carolina in 1933. He attended the Agricultural and Technical University in Greensboro, North Carolina, before joining the military. While serving in the military in Europe, he discovered his love for museums and painting and enrolled in the Chicago Academy of Art and the American Academy of Art when he finished serving in 1956. Outterbridge is well known for his use of collectable objects in his paintings and sculptures. Outterbridge received the lifetime achievement award from the Californian African American Museum in 2012.