14 December 2011

The Character of Our Creations: Jordan Josafat

Factory (2010)
   "Why limit yourself when you have the ability to paint something out of this world? Why paint some normal landscape when you can paint a landscape in space or a landscape in the future?" says Jordan Josafat, today's feature artist. It's that kind of expansive thinking that makes his work so intriguing. Josafat has been painting for many years, and has painted a wide variety of subjects, in a wide variety of styles. He often works in photography and sometimes mixed media, but for the last couple of years, Josafat has been on a roll with his watercolor studies of buildings and automobiles suspended in air.

   Taking his cue from the Precisionists of the early 1900s, like Stella, Demuth, Driggs, and Crawford, who depicted their fascination with architecture and city planning, Josafat intertwines his structural interests with his exuberant imagination and his deep awareness of the character of buildings.   
   By keeping his building canvases unpopulated and surrounded on all sides by open air, Josafat treats us to a new perspective on the everyday objects of our environment, making them the centerpieces, or the lead characters, in his pieces. The fact that he focuses on the bulkiest objects of our creation makes the pieces that much more exhilarating, and elicits from the viewer feelings of liberation and sky-high possibility.
Watercolor #8
   "When an audience is around, I want them to have a 360-degree view of the world that I am trying to portray," Josafat says.    "My mission is to tell stories from every point of view, aspect, and/ or situation. I want people to understand that everything we do, see, and experience plays an important part in our future."

Watercolor #12
   When he is asked about his coloring choices and his simple but energetic lines, Josafat says: "I was inspired by a vacation book about the Philippines that my dad had back in his military days. Inside, it had these simple line drawing illustrations with a few splashes of color on them. To me, the simplicity of them made sense. It was almost as if someone was making that book as they were passing through places on vacation. This is where I got the epiphany to convey my messages through tons of watercolor sketches."
   But even though his work was inspired by those travel books, Josafat's work isn't clear-cut travel painting or documentary. There is too little documenting and too much stylizing in them for that. Rather, Josafat creates his building pieces similar to the way Modigliani created his nudes. His work begins in the real, physical world where he finds his inspiration, but it then diverges off to a metaphysical plane, employing various techniques to capture a glimpse of the building's character, to introduce his aesthetic ideas, and to create a pleasing picture for the viewer.

Watercolor #13

   When asked about his inspirations, Josafat says: "I paint buildings & landscapes because that’s the most memorable thing to me about any place I’ve seen, visited, or lived. There’s a lot of emotion that can be portrayed in painting buildings & landscapes or at least I believe so."
   Some of Josafat's building portraits also exhibit a round-mirror or fish-eye perspective which compliments the psychedelic color use, further distorting reality in favor of encouraging the viewer's direct interaction with the pieces.

Watercolor #9

   Josafat's portraits of suspended vehicles are similarly exciting. Instead of painting cars, motorcycles and sport trucks, he focuses in on those vehicles which are most known for sitting parked for long periods of time: trailers, campers, ice cream trucks, taco trucks, etc. By doing so, he highlights the house-like quality of them, and reminds us that it's not where these vehicles go that's important, but it's the people that are in them and their interactions that make them interesting. In a way, his vehicle portraits and his building portraits shed light on each other, and upon doing so, their strong spirits of community, enterprise and achievement are unlocked. 

Watercolor  #27

   "I like riding bikes; that's part of my inspiration process," Josafat says. "Sometimes I just need to get out and feel the city, feel the air, and kind of just cruise around to get inspired by images and by people and situations that happen in our everyday life." 
   We hope you keep it up, Jordan! Beauty and compassion are flowing through you just like water through a river.

[Jordan Josafat's newest painting is on display at Thumbprint Gallery and will remain so through the Works of Wisdom exhibition. For more information on Josafat, feel free to visit his website at jordanjprojects. weebly.com.]

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