Saturday, April 16, 2011
I never thought artistic bowls would draw in my attention, but this has very much been achieved by the blue slip-cast works of Jonathan Russell, a Portland artist.
After his first show, "American Craft", Jonathan opened an Esty shop, hoping to see his work in more intimate settings like personal collections instead of simply within the confines of a gallery. In it, he sells his artistic bowls, which can be used for decorative purposes or as food friendly kitchenware, and hand-crafted pieces.
"I draw a lot from the human figure, especially when I’m trying to resolve my hand-built forms. I think of the way parts of the body, like the ear, come together. I also consider the roles imperfection and asymmetry play in defining human beauty," Jonathan said.
Although Jonathan is only 24 years old, his art is extremely mature. His works hold a serenity to them that remind me of the homeliness of family. To put it simply, they make me smile.
According to Jonathan there is "nothing quite like pure expression, but also nothing like a good old-fashioned commission." Ideally, and with a genuine honesty, he would like to fall between those two extremes in terms of his reasons for creating.
Like a lot of other artists, Jonathan has had to find a way to separate a prominent part of his identity from the subject matter of his art.
"It can be hard to be gay and an artist without making 'gay art.' This is especially true when wanting to address this aspect of your identity. Is there anything wrong with making 'gay art'?—no, but it seems like a limiting genre," Jonathan said.
This is something, I believe he has done wonderfully. His works, above all else, are definitively and simply that of Jonathan Russell.
Outside of his works, Jonathan spends a lot of time writing music and short stories, as well as entertaining and cooking. In five years, he sees himself in a room with lots of windows. You can follow his journey through his Esty shop.