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ROUND 2 SEMI-FINALISTL: JONNI CHEATWOOD
Unsure of what he wanted to do for his career, Jonni took a chance on an Intro to Painting course in college. After completing an assignment to remake a Jackson Pollack painting, he was hooked as an artist. Constantly inspired by his surroundings and pop culture, he keeps a notebook on him at all times in order to record his ideas as they occur.
Where do you look for inspiration? How do you get your creative juices flowing? I read a lot, watch films, and listen to music from people much more creative than me just to surround myself with creativity. The core of my thought process is dedicated to deconstruction, making mistakes, and finding truths in the abstract. I am deeply interested in the process of creating an aesthetic piece and how one gets there; so I try to get there by just trying. I carry a notebook with me everywhere, so if I have a thought or an idea, it is always on paper.
What do you hope other people get out of your art? I am interested in how creativity cultivates hope, revival, and the restoration of what was nothing into something beautiful. I get the question, “What does it mean?” all the time. I want to express my own personal story through abstract work, and story is the most powerful tool that we have been given. We all have stories.
What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever made? In my apartment I have taken yarn and made sculptures like webs that just have so much geometric value. I needed something on the walls, so I took it upon myself to try something new. I’m proud with them.
What is indispensable in your studio? Painter’s tape. What is your favorite place to see art? Trains. I love seeing trains go through town and see what has been tagged onto the cars. It just gives me this odd sense of creative liberation. Then being on a train, you get to see landscapes and backdrops that most people in cars don’t get to see. There are so many hidden murals out there. Other than that, I could spend hours learning about different artists online.
Who is your favorite artist (living or historical)? This is a hard question for me because I have two living that come to mind. I hope to be as creative as Jaybo Monk one day, so he is probably my favorite artist. However, there is a painter in NYC named Makoto Fujimura who is such a creative catalyst and inspiration for the arts as a whole and he’s a solid guy. I want to make the same impact on people that he has made with my art.