Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Featured Artist Johnny Bryan, The Bo Tie Jedi!

We stumbled upon Jonathan Bryan aka BoTieJedi on Instagram, while we were trawling the many different styles and qualities of artwork for sale. Something about his work was different and it immediately popped out of a sea of mediocrity. Sometimes surreal, elegant and beautifully painted, his pieces are stunning. Johnny was happy for us to interview him and to discuss his passion for painting.

Jonathan Bryan is one of the Island Empire’s newest innovative, self taught artists.  Painting for four years now, he uses acrylics and has recently ventured into water colours, charcoal and also oils. He has exhibited his art work across the United States in various places from Cal State University of San Bernardino to Pasadena, New York and the Los Angeles Museum of African American Art. Also exhibiting in London he relies on inspiration from the human form, more specifically portraits mixed with vivid colours and hypnotic objects. His goal is to make a living from what he loves doing.

Your art has a surreal quality, where do you get your inspiration from? Do you have a favourite artist?
I can pull inspiration from everything in life, whether it’s from scenes in movies, plays, music videos, colour combinations or even certain patterns in clothes. But my main inspiration comes from the music I listen to and even that can vary from Rap and R&B all the way to jazz and even rock music.
Of course I can pull inspiration from other artist work. My favourite artist to study has to be Silvia Ji with her amazing day of the dead paintings and vivid colours.

Have you always been naturally creative or is this something you studied?
I’ve always been able to draw and sketch better than most but for years that’s all I would do. But something was always missing for me, then in 2009 out of the blue I thought to myself “Let’s try painting!” so I went to the nearest arts and craft store and picked up a two pack of small canvas and tried my hand at it. The first attempt is absolutely terrible! In fact I was so upset I punched through the canvas and put a huge hole in it (Laughs). But then I tried again with the other canvas and it came out better then I hoped! From then on I was hooked!

Do you exhibit your work and if so how often?
I try to exhibit my work as much as I physically can, maybe about two exhibitions per month. In my opinion social media can only take your work to a certain point and after that your audience has to get the up close and personal effect. There is nothing like standing there in front of a painting and studying the vivid colours and fluid brush strokes.

How long does it usually take you to finish a piece and what’s your preferred medium?
Usually it takes me about two to three days to finish one of my pieces whether its acrylic or a watercolour painting. I can finish one of my sketches within thirty minutes but when it comes to oil paint that can take a few days to finish that’s probably why I’ve only done one oil painting so far!
My preferred medium most definitely has to be acrylic paint. It’s the first painting medium that I started with.

Do you find there is support for young artists and that social media has made it easier for you to get your work out there?
Honestly I feel that there isn’t enough support for young artist. The area that I live in, mainly supports artists who are already well known and those who have the money to afford to finance themselves to be in the high-end galleries. But for those of us who can’t afford all the high-end materials of galleries, Social Media like Facebook and especially Instagram are definitely a huge help in getting out work to our audiences.

Where would you like to see yourself in the future?
In the near future I would love to see myself being able to support my life style with my artwork. Making a living off of what I love to do, that’s when I can honestly say that I’ve made it as a successful artist.

Finally what part do you think art plays in today’s technology heavy society?
I believe that art plays a big role in society, without art or at least a little influence of art then buildings, furniture, gadgets or anything of the sort wouldn’t be appealing to the consumer’s eye. Without an object looking aesthetically pleasing, the consumer wouldn’t want to purchase. Without artwork or artists this world would be outrageously ugly (Laughs out loud), it’s our job as artists to make this world just a little bit more beautiful with each day that passes.

Its been an absolutely pleasure talking to you Johnny and we wish you the best in the future!

If you would like to view more of Johnny's work please go to his Instagram Page @botiejedi you can also watch a video featuring Johnny HERE.

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