Art Featured Interviews

IPaintMyMind Exclusive Interview: Erik Jones

Written by:
Evan La Ruffa
Sep 02, 2013

Words by Evan La Ruffa

Erik Jones makes us excited to even be somewhat included in the future. His colorful creations are beautiful renditions that make the viewer think of vacations on the moon and the palette of our lovers. Headpieces, a feminine stance, and the insatiable movement within creates a sense of escapism that is liberating, if not cathartic. Retaliating against the mundane, Erik Jones is a painter dedicated to the things that make him productive: ideas. Whether colored pencils, watercolor, a few different types of acrylics, water-soluble wax pastel, or oils, his art skips the beat of logic and delivers a world unknown to us all. It’s of his own creation, it moves, and it makes life feel real again.

We featured his work recently and had to dig deeper. After connecting, he’s been more than gracious, and we’re thrilled to launch IPMM 3.0 with our Exclusive Interview with Brooklyn resident and painter, Erik Jones.

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What’s a typical day look like for you?

I wake up around 7ish, spend about 2 hours answering emails and drinking coffee. Around 9, I turn on NPR and start my day. I usually work on about 2-3 pieces at one time. As one section on a painting is drying, Ill switch to another painting and so on. I’ll usually paint till around 8pm, then have dinner and watch some TV (love me some Bob’s Burgers)… the glamorous life of an artist.

What supplies do you use? Has that changed over time?

I use colored pencils, watercolor, a few different types of acrylics, water-soluble wax pastel, water-soluble oils on Rives bfk paper mounted to wood panel. I’ve been using these materials for quite some time now. Though it’s always a learning experience.

Your “City” Limited Edition print that recently SOLD OUT was the first piece of your artwork that we ever encountered. Our first feature of your work alludes to that jaw agape moment when you see something amazing. Kudos to you sir. Others seemed to like that print as well, tell us more about the release.

First off, thank you!! This was my very first limited edition print. I had one other through Spoke Art Gallery, but City was all me. I went with a smaller size so anyone could afford it. The print itself was pretty flashy. I designed it to have a back, so there’s substance on both sides. This made the entire print feel more robust, like you could stick it in a plexy sleeve and have it on your coffee table for people to hold and flip around. A coffee table print, ha. Well, whatever it was, people seemed to like it. I can’t wait to do more!

The people who inspired the artists I enjoy are a huge emphasis in curating for me. Tracing creativity back through history. Do you discover things in that way? If not, how do you find new art or music?

I don’t necessarily consider myself very “modern” or hip to technology but I do spend a lot of time on my computer finding new art AND music. Sometimes I’ll dedicate a day to just doing that.

Awesome, we can relate.

Tumblr and ffffound.com are great for finding random art. But I also spend a lot of time at The Strand here in NYC. It’s a great book store with an entire floor dedicated to art. My own little heaven. I find a lot of collective graphic design books there and I LOVE those. I definitely enjoy flipping through pages in a book or magazine more then trolling the internet, but the internet is a fantastic tool.

As far as music goes, I like to find a band and explore other bands that sound like said band. The web site Last.fm does a really good job of categorizing similar bands. I’ll spend hours finding new music. In fact, I just found this group called Lapalux yesterday.

Nice man. It’s true, various ways to find great stuff. As far as yours, geometry, femininity, and color are three words that come to mind when describing your work. Whether or not you’d describe in any certain way, what are you thinking about when creating these vibrant artworks?

Pretty much exactly that, though I would also throw in “organic pattern.” It’s the glue that holds it all together. You can find variants of repetitious pattern in all my work if you look close enough. As I’m creating these paintings I’m really focused on how the composition feels. Is it flowing the right way, is my eye being lead around the composition in a pleasing manner? I spend a lot of time looking and visualizing new shapes and different ways to engage the viewer. For as structural as my art appears, it’s a pretty organic process.

“Discoverer” is one of our favorites of yours. “Racer”, “Earthbound”, and “Zero One” all seem to hint at an extra-planetary vibe. Do these characters belong to another world?

I wouldn’t say they belong to a different world (but perhaps I do). I get very inspired when I watch Sci-Fi movies. Usually a painting follows. I’m just so fascinated with our view of the future. Perhaps deep down inside I’m hoping some fashion designer will get inspired by my work and start creating suits that take on these forms. Can someone make this happen??!!!??!!

Have you always lived in New York? Where else have you worked, visited, or lived? How have those places shaped you?

I was born In St. Petersburg Florida, where I lived until I was about 26, then moved to NYC.

New York has definitely been my greatest influence. I try to go to a lot of openings here in Chelsea (gallery district here in NYC) and every time I go, I come back ridiculously inspired! Not many other places have done this to me. I think maybe San Fransisco would be second but a very distant second.

What are some of your favorite films? Records?

Films: Gattaca, Vanilla Sky, Clueless ( I’ll stop at 3, I seriously could go on forever)

Bands: James Blake, Seal, Sigur Ros, The Budos Band, The National, Tim Hecker, Veto. (and again, a million more). I’m really into original scores for movies too. My all time favorite composer would be Michael Nyman. His compositions make me weep like a child. Probably the most emotional, amazing music I have ever heard. Dustin O’halloran does it to me as well. That’s probably what I listen to the most. Sad, depressing, emotional orchestra/piano music. I kind of love being miserable.

It makes you feel alive…is that weird?

What would you tell an artist just now starting to get their name out there?

You mean like myself??? ha. I would say work your ass off, create like a champion and really focus on having a good presence online. The internet is free marketing, and getting attention online is one of the best things an artist can do(in my opinion) along with getting published. Just make sure the work is stellar, you are always creating and with a little luck you can do this for a living.

What are you working on currently?

I have a number of commissions that are coming along nicely and a few new bodies of work going out to different galleries all over the US. At the moment, I’m really excited about a group show here in NYC that’s happening onOctober 5th. This is when I’m debuting 8-10 paintings that are an abstraction of my figure paintings. Like my figure work, these paintings are bright and colorful but focus more on the relationships between abstract structural forms and nonrepresentational organic pattern. Really excited about this stuff. Look for a lot more of that in the future.

Name one artist or musician that IPMM readers should check out immediately.

Painter: Jeff Depner. My biggest inspiration, hands down. Musician: Tim Hecker. Amazing ambient sound artist. Great to paint to. 

Written by:
Evan La Ruffa
Sep 02, 2013

tags: acrylics, Clueless, colored pencils, erik jones, ffffound.com, Gattaca, James Blake, last.fm, Seal, sigur ros, Spoke Art Gallery, The Budos Band, The Strand, Vanilla Sky, water-soluble oils, water-soluble wax pastel, watercolor