By Malcolm Morrow Jonathan Faulkner is a 24-year-old visual artist originally hailing from New Orleans, La. He’s been in Jackson, Miss., since the tra...
By Malcolm Morrow
Jonathan Faulkner is a 24-year-old visual artist originally hailing from New Orleans, La. He’s been in Jackson, Miss., since the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, which left countless people displaced and scattered across the Southeastern states.
“I was always artistic but Katrina changed me greatly, and a lot of my work is saying who I am while trying to remember who I used to be,” Jonathan said.
As an artist, he feels it is his duty to show the things that he sees in the world around him in his own unique way. He comes with an arsenal of Sharpies, ink pens, paint and pastels. He also had his pieces “Illuminated Lovers” and “People” featured in the recent Mississippi LIGHT Festival held at the Mississippi Museum of Modern Art.
Some of his favorite artists include familiar names known for their dynamic and offbeat creations including Klimt, Rothko, Basquiat and George Condo. However, Faulkner gives credit to everything and everyone for inspiring his works.
“I believe artists have the ability to absorb information around them and then create something through the filters of their experiences and influences that illustrate that collected data,” he explained. “With that comes a responsibility to create and contribute.”
The young artist has been a creative spirit for as long as he can remember. In his childhood he took painting classes and would create his own original comic books. He has been enrolled in art schools and classes throughout his life, but it wasn’t until two years ago that he discovered his personal style that let him present his most honest self through his art.
“I just started drawing something without premeditation or while looking at something, and it became the first piece in my current style,” Jonathan recalled. “What made me realize it was unique was that I felt like I was able to put what I was thinking on paper and didn’t care about anyone else’s opinion on it. I loved it because it felt like I cemented what made me different than everyone else.”
His work is raw and free-flowing, leading to open-ended interpretations, which is exactly what he’s hoping for when someone views his art for the first time.
“I’m really more interested in what people think my work means, or how the interpret what they see. I just do the work, then I listen to you,” he said.
This is an interesting approach since most artists are very set in what they are hoping to portray with their creations, putting extensive effort into the concepts and wanting viewers to focus in on their intentions.
“I usually hate when people ask me what my work means. Well, only if they ask me immediately before analyzing the piece and coming up with their own interpretation — it’s like asking for the answers to a test before trying to take it,” he compared. “Once they’ve formed an opinion of their own, then I can tell you what I intended, and we can have a real conversation between our minds that transcends the physical piece.”
Jonathan doesn’t begin a creation with any type of plan. He creates from feelings, memories and past experience in a point of consciousness style similar to the writing styles of Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner. His hand is at the complete will of his vivid imagination and the constant activity of his brain.
“I try to begin without consciously thinking of a certain thing, but I might draw lines where the mouth is then starting to realize it kind of looks like a facemask, then draw that. Kind of like how an explosion is a chain reaction of energy jumping to each particle, I draw along with the jumping of thought to thought or memory to feeling in my head,” he explained.
The final product on canvas isn’t always as clear-cut as it appears. Though we may see familiar symbols, characters, and designs, they often have a more personal connection to Jonathan than just being an interest.
“Everything is an ode in a way,” he said. “I won’t put a Mortal Kombat symbol in a piece to symbolize the game itself, but maybe a specific memory I randomly thought of when I spent the night at a friends house to play the game. That nostalgia will jump me to another memory of me and that friend thinking we saw a UFO that one time and the rad-horse just being a personification of how cool youth, and that time, felt.”
Jonathan is preparing for his first solo art show Alligator Pancakes and Cheesecake Gumbo on March 11 at 5 PM at Land vs. Ocean, 3011 N State St. in Fondren. He wants people to come into the gallery with no expectations and just be open to receive the collection.
“I expect you to have no expectation because that only brings disappointment. In terms of the content of my work, I don’t want you to know anything until you see it,” he said. “No one should go out looking for a girlfriend based on preconceptions and favorable features, usually you randomly stumble on someone, then look long enough to see the beauty and decide you want to take this painting home. There will be prints, sculptures, and drawings on objects, and I can say the work will be like nothing you’ve ever seen before.”
There’s much more in store for the rest of the year from this promising new auteur. He also had his work featured in the upcoming March Forth show held at Adrienne Domnick’s AND Gallery along with a number of other rising artists. It was a presentation of different perspectives in relation to social justice. He is also debuting a month-long exhibiton of his work at Deep South Pops tonight from 6 PM – 9 PM with more shows to come throughout 2017.
“I have an infinity of goals for this year. I want to do another show in the summer and another in the winter. There’s more but it would look bad if I tell you and don’t get them finished, and it would look better if I don’t tell you so it’s a surprise.”
Faulkner is a welcome addition to the always-evolving art community of Jackson. With the momentum he’s been building and constant creative output; I don’t seem him slowing down any time soon. His work is sure to have people digging deep into their imaginations to draw conclusions for his complex creations. If he can get the gears of your mind turning, his job has been done.
Stay Connected via @JonathansWeird
Follow him on Tumblr at jonathanfaulkner.tumblr.com for all of his latest creations