SATURATION 2.0: The Arts in Conversation project at Antelope Valley Arts is an ongoing, weekly publishing series: Local artists (painters, poets, photographers, fiction writers) have been invited to submit art and partake in a conversation on artistic influence and inspiration as the print arm of Antelope Valley Arts goes digital.
Michael Jones, an exciting young pop artist whose vibrant colors and iconic images make his work timely and powerful. Michael’s positive message art created under street name Dream Bigger works to change the inner city dialogue of anger and hopelessness.
Who is your favorite visual artist? How does he or she influence your work?
My favorite Artist is Basquiat aka Samo, his work inspires me because he wasn’t afraid to do what he wanted.
One of the most original and influential artists of his generation, Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960 – 1988) produced deceptively unsophisticated-looking works that belied a complex and unique talent. Born in Brooklyn of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent, Basquiat first gained notoriety with graffiti artwork. He catapulted to fame with paintings that incorporated a fusion of words, symbols, stick figures, animals, and historical and cultural references. Befriended by Andy Warhol, Basquiat collaborated with the renowned Pop Artist on 100 artworks. Despite a career tragically cut short by a heroin overdose, Basquiat introduced the unique African-American and Latino experience to the elite art world.
Is there a certain emotional valence or emotional register that characterizes your work?
Yes I would say happy haha Most of my art is bright, with bold colors. I want to portray happiness on canvas threw colors if that makes any sense at all.The art to losing yourself in life, is to first love yourself and appreciate the beauty of your place in the world.
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 ….
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.
Antelope Valley Arts Blog Interview: Michael Jones
I met Michael Jones for the first time when he was putting together a solo show of brightly colored, abstract paintings in 2010 called Static/Electric. Not long after that, he joined me for an online project, Failure of Theory.
Since then, I’ve tried to follow his art doings on FB. Though Jones is good about posting updates, he is almost too busy to keep track of these days. A little interview seems in order to get a refresh on where Michael Jones has been and where he is going.
(Michael, being literally on the go, got my questions while he was in Oakland for a show. He responded on his way back to the upper desert. Any typos are the phone’s fault…or mine.)
What ideas stand behind your art? ( Is there an underlying concept or a philosophy behind your painting, your poetry…?)
The ideas I would say that stand by my art are just simply gathering life in and enjoying it. I try to focus on positive work that makes the viewer want to lose their mind in my vivid world of art. There are too many negative things happening everyday, so instead of being another crab in the bucket I wanted to journey to make people smile through the eyes of color. Whether my art is good or bad, I hope the message plants a seed to make people want to change for the positive and inspire someone. My concept has never been to be this famous painter; as long as I can aspire to inspire until I expire, I have done what I dreamed of.
Where can people see your work online or locally in person?
Local people can view my art at Graphic Experience located on Lancaster Blvd. My art has been hanging in there for about two years now. It is a great honor to be hanging alongside many talented local artists who have paved the way for a young artist like myself. Big Thanks to Chris Calaba for always having faith and seeing my vision. Without her most of this wouldn’t even be possible.
What has your 2012 been like art-wise? Any highlights?
Highlights for 2012 hmmmmmmmmmmm
To be honest I have accomplished a lot this year, from getting my art put onto shirts by a friend by the name of Cory Bailey to painting on a 2012 challenger with Sergio Hernandez and Todd Cooper…….to having a feature in the Antelope Valley Lifestyle Magazine. hmmmm it has been a good year and hope many more blessings to come. Anytime I get to paint I think is a big accomplishment to me. I love painting to the death of me. It fuels me and motivates me to be a better person hahaha dont ask.
Can you describe your experience as an artist in the Antelope Valley ?
I think living in the A.V. as an artist is awesome and amazing. Took me awhile to accept living in the middle of nowhere but I use that to my advantage now. Not many people get the chance to be surrounded by nature and all its beauty. I can look up at night and see the stars and get captivated in them hahah can’t so much do that in L.A. Hahhaha or can you? lol jk. I have had the pleasure of working with local artists such as Todd Cooper, Ramon Ramirez , Luis Fileto , Jonathan Baker, Dawn Fox, Arturo ana luz Castanon, Ricardo Cisneros , VINCE Reyes, ZeuS, Cassandra Whitaker, Suzy Roach, Cory Bailey, Donna Weil, Bryan Pacana, Larissa Nickel, Tonia and Wayne Crews, and not last but not least my mentor Edwin Vasquez. Everyone of these people have helped me as a artist whether it be telling me about a new product 0r helping me make canvases. I appreciate all of them as friends but most of all inspirational artists.
Over the last few years, your art has really grown and changed. How would you describe the changes?
I’ve been painting for 3 years as of September 9th. I’m growing as an artist each year and I hope my art is a reflection of that. The only thing I really do differently now is just to have fun doing art , not everyone will like what you do so why have limits. When you have limits you limit yourself , the job of art is to convey a message to the viewer. So with that said I make it a point to try something new everytime I paint no matter what. I love exploring new things and expanding my mind …..isnt that what life is all about taking chances haha. My art three years ago compared to now is a day and night difference but it is all about progressing and molding your craft until you feel comfortable with it. I try to paint at least one hour everyday no matter what..thanks to Edwin Vasquez for that advice I can notice a huge difference in my painting.
What is the most recent art show you’ve participated in? What shows are on the horizon? Where would you like to take your art, stylistically or geographically, in the future? More shows in Los Angeles ? Or…?
I just had a show in Oakland , CA last weekend , was a very amazing show Thanks again Filthe Grime for all the hardwork put into the show. I have several upcoming shows ……next show Will be the D.A.D.A show (put on by artist for artist hahaha) . I also hope to get my solo show going in 2013 but I think that will be more like a 2014 thing. I plan to do some curating in 2013 and perhaps direct my own horror movie. So wish me luck friends and family.
Antelope Valley artist Edwin Vasquez has embarked on a project to publicize and video the work of other artists of Lancaster, Palmdale, Lake Hughes, Lake Elizabeth, and the greater Mojave area.
The AV Arts Blog shares the publicizing part of Edwin Vasquez’ ambition! With more cameras on hand we’d probably share the whole thing.
Short of that, we’d like to show you Vasquez’ videos and in doing so introduce you (or re-introduce you) to the art of some exciting and engaging artists working and living in the Antelope Valley.
Below are several videos Vasquez has made in 2011 featuring the works of Larissa Nickel, Michael Jones, June Marie Milham, AJ Currado, Donna Weil, Forever Seven, and himself, Edwin Vasquez. (The list of names here isn’t matched to the order of the videos below.)
Antelope Valley artists to participate in: THE 1ST EMERGE ART EXHIBITION-COMPETITION JULY 29-30,2011
THE KINGS WAREHOUSE (8000 SQF WAREHOUSE 40′ FOOT WALLS)
18242 SHERMAN WAY
THE 1ST EMERGE ART EXHIBITION-COMPETITION
“THE ART SHOW THAT PROMOTES, SUPPORTS AND STRENGTHENS THE ARTIST!”…JUROR:
AEROSOL AND MIXED MEDIA ARTIST “DUKE”
1ST PLACE:MAD SKILLS AWARD
US CURRENCY WORTH $200.00 + HONORABLE MENTION ON LOCALLAARTIST.COM SITE
2ND PLACE:INNOVATORS APPROACH AWARD
THE ART PATRON HAS DONATED A GIFT CARD
WORTH $150.00 TOWARDS ART STORE OF CHOICE
3RD PLACE:CREATIVE JUNKY AWARD
ONE PICK FROM ART BOX
4TH PLACE:THIRD EYE AWARD
HSGRAFIX.COM HAS DONATED A SET OF BUSINESS CARDS & POST CARDS WORTH $200.00
5TH PLACE:BRILLIANCE AWARD
NORTH HOLLYWOOD FRAMERS INC. HAS DONATED A GIFT CERTIFICATE WORTH $50.00 TOWARDS FRAME WORK AT THEIR SHOP.
PAINTINGS, DRAWINGS, PHOTOGRAPHY AND SCULPTURE.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: JULY 20,2011
SUBMIT TO: INFO@FILETOFINEART.COM
DROP OFF: JULY 28,2011 9AM-9PM
EXHIBITION: JULY 29-30,2011 8PM-2AM
PICK UP:JULY 3O OR JULY 31 FROM 9AM-12PM
ENTRY FEE: $10.00 PER ART PIECE
COMMISION ON SALE:100% PROFIT FOR THE ARTIST
NO SUBJECT MATTER
NO LIMIT TO QUANTITY
NO BS !!!
9 PM- STARS AT NIGHT
10PM- BISON REVOLT
9PM- MOLDY VULTURE
FRIDAY & SATURDAY NIGHT
8PM DJ EFFECT
FRIDAY & SATURDAY NIGHT
18 AND OVER EVENT
DISCRIPTION OF SHOW:
0VER 50 ARTISTS X 4 BANDS X 2DJ’S X 5 AWARDS X BODY PAINTING X DRINKS X FOOD !!!