Thursday, April 14, 2016

Conceptual Fashion Design

“Submerging yourself in non-stop art morning to night,
is the best thing you can do for artistic growth.

Erik Jones

The American mixed media portrait artist, who describes his work as conceptual fashion design, Erik Jones realized he had an artistic talent when, whilst still in short pants, his mother proclaimed him to be the next Pablo Picasso.

As he explained to Supersonic Arts Zach Tutor “The first time I knew I could draw was around the age of 6 or 7. I vividly remember eating a bag of Cheetos, looking at the cheetah on the package and thinking, “I can draw that.” I sat down with a #2 pencil, some loose leaf newsprint paper and 4 hours later, after meticulous shading and erasing, emerged a well-defined Chester Cheeto. My mom found the drawing and proclaimed me as the next Pablo Picasso. It was her enthusiasms which made me realize I had some sort of talent.

After obtaining his BA in illustration from the Ringling College of Art and Design in 2007, Jones traveled the country earning his daily bread from cover illustration work and exhibiting at comic conventions. After two years on the road Jones reached his ultimate destination, New York.

As he recalls “It was a spur of the moment kind of thing. I moved with $81 in my pocket, a garbage bag full of clothes and a computer. I’ve never looked back. It was one of those things where I felt like I just had to do it. I wasn’t getting any younger and all my dreams and aspirations were based out of New York, primarily gallery work. I was able to move because of the jobs I was getting in comics. Comics have never been a passion of mine, actually not even a hobby. However, the bright colors and strong line quality in my older work lent itself to comics and they took me in with open arms. I made a living by doing cover work and showing at comic conventions all around the United States. Fun for a while but it was tiresome doing something I didn’t have my heart into completely.”

Once in New York Jones concentrated on creating works specifically for galleries and in late 2012 early 2013 he found a voice that resonated.

As he explained “In late 2012 I was asked to create a body of work for a show here in New York. I took it as my chance to focus my creative explorations to one specific “style.” It was in the middle of creating this new body of work that I found an aesthetic I wanted to cultivate. The piece that made it all click was Armor (see below). An extremely large piece this painting was extremely challenging and yet so much fun to do. The arrangement of the forms cladding the figure were originally meant just as graphic, nonrepresentational elements with no distinct purpose other than to simply heighten the beauty of the figure. The forms have now evolved to something that could resemble conceptual fashion design. Which is where I’d like to take these concepts/paintings.

Jones’ current exhibition Twenty Sixteen is on show at New York’s Jonathan LeVine Gallery until the 30 of April.

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