Antelope Valley artist Michael Jones once told me that his art is all about gathering life and enjoying it. You can see that philosophy at work in his art and in his dedication to his craft.
I met Antelope Valley artist Michael Jones about five years ago. Back then, he was doing extra bold, extra bright non-figurative painting and putting on a solo show in the gallery space at Sagebrush Café. Today, Jones has expanded his stylistic repertoire, moving into mixed media work – still extra bold and extra bright.
Along with his evolving style, Michael Jones has evolved his place in the arts community, teaching classes and showing his art from Los Angeles to Oakland to Florida . He has shown work in a number of places here in the Antelope Valley, including Graphic Experience, a place that Jones often mentions as his real starting point. And he’s been interviewed in the Antelope Valley Press Lifestyle Magazine and he was also featured at AVTimes.com. These local interviews are in addition to various blog interviews and features online looking at Jones’ art and his passion for positivity.
Preferring Facebook to other venues, Jones regularly posts inspirational thoughts on his FB art page and posts images of his work and his unique inspiration projects.
It’s been great to get to watch Jones from afar (or, from the other side of town) and see his Dream Big(ger) project grow. We recently had the chance to ask Michael Jones a few questions for the AV Arts Blog.
Eric: First, how would you describe your Dream Big(ger) project? I’ve seen the t-shirts, the stenciled street art and the paintings. It seems like a project with some real momentum. How would you describe the project to someone you just met who is unfamiliar with the project and/or with you as an artist?
Michael Jones: The dream bigger project is basically something to add a little positivity to the people that need it and to the ones that didn’t realize they needed it. The Dream Big(ger) movement isn’t about the money, not about getting famous. It is about giving people something positive to reflect on within themselves and really work hard towards what they want. It is all about doing good and paying it forward… Chasing your dreams with no excuses to hold you back.
Eric: I’ve seen pictures of your inspiration leaves on Facebook. Can you talk about that a little bit? Also, what is it that makes FB work for you as a venue as opposed to an art website (which you used to have, but decided to shut down)?
Michael Jones: I call it the daily leaf drop, but one day I was watching youtube and saw a man gather a bunch of leaves, put them in a bag and pour them off a building onto the sidewalk below. While I was watching, I was thinking, how about instead of many leaves I can use one single leaf, write something positive and put it somewhere in hopes that someone finds it that needs it.
I had a pretty active website but I try to use, Twitter, IG and FB as much as I can – the reason being most people have a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Social media is taking over, either get on the train or be left out – haha – I do plan on bringing the website back soon enough.
Eric: What is happening in Germany ? Is it true you are setting up a gallery there? What can you say about that?
Michael Jones: Where do I start about the Gallery… My Dad happens to live in Germany and he wanted a place to showcase his photographic work because he does photography. He asked if I wanted in on the deal and of course I said yes. So I own half of the gallery and plan on doing many things once the time allows.
Never seems like enough time in the day for all the projects brewing in my head.
Eric: In what ways has your art developed or changed since we first met five years ago?
Michael Jones: To be honest, my art has changed so much within the last five years. It is still weird saying I’ve only been painting 5 years yet have accomplished so much in that time span. One thing about me is I am always hard on myself and want to do bigger and better things. I told myself from day one that I will never get complacent and I will never give up on my passion. So from my earlier cave man paintings to the crazy wild abstract paintings you see today it is safe to say I am forever changing ….
Eric: I’ve heard just a little bit about a Michael Jones documentary film about you and your art. Can you talk about that a little?
Michael Jones: I have an art bucket list of projects I wanted to do throughout my art career. Until now I haven’t been able make it happen because the help I needed was just not around. Now I have my team together so we are documenting every project as much as we can. I have 60 things on my list and the plan is to do one every month for the next five years.
Eric: In terms of viewer/audience response, have you ever been surprised that a particular piece got a really strong, positive reaction?
Michael Jones: To be honest if any of my art gets a strong response I am satisfied. The more I journey through art the more of a meaning I realize I am gaining subconsciously. Less and less it is about the money and more about the message … As it should be . The Marilyn Monroe Piece I did a few months ago got some major hits and it was a bit overwhelming but, definitely motivated me.
Check out the Michael Jones interview at AVTimes.com and watch out for more to come in a possible – probable – near future continued interview with Mr. Jones, one of the Antelope Valley’s most prominent artists today.
You can also take a look at an older interview with Michael Jones from the AV Arts Blog here.