Someplace Nice

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Jonathan Farley

When did you start making art?

I drew a lot when I was a kid. I remember drawing a picture of Jesus for my mom when I was like 10. I'd draw cartoon characters that I liked or poorly drawn cars. I’d use various pencils that I'd happen to have from school or something. I remember finding random mechanical pencils and keeping those to do drawings; I still use mechanical pencils.

Tell us a little bit about how you came to make art?

I was studying graphic design and hated it. I thought that route would allow creativity and stable income, but it wasn’t for me. I took a painting class and my professor urged me to change my major to art/painting, so I did. I felt more connected to making physical artwork.

What is your approach or process towards painting?

I try to maintain a level of spontaneity that contributes to an unpredictable outcome. I don't want to make something pretty or even “good”. If the subject is too boring, I'll mess it up or make it really ugly. I feel that’s more honest sometimes. Colour is often dictated by immediacy or convenience, while strokes and marks are more deliberate. Then I'll hit the switch and become aggressive with the application of whatever materials are at my disposal. To sum it up I'd say the process is fluid. I try to keep myself guessing and stay away from too much comfort.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

I get inspired by anything. If I'm having a good day I'm inspired to paint. If I'm having a bad day I want to paint. People inspire me. Humour inspires me.

What do you aim to communicate with your work?

The phrase “there's more than one way to skin a cat” comes to mind because I feel that an open mind can open doors to places that you wouldn’t have known about otherwise. I try to implement this concept into my artwork to keep things exciting.

Who are your favourite artists?

Francis Bacon, Arshile Gorky, Oskar Kokoschka, Chaim Soutine, Willem De Kooning, Phillip Guston, Cecily Brown.

Take us through a standard day in the studio for you.

I'm usually working on like two or three paintings at once. Drawings are littered on my studio coffee table and floor. I’m cutting wood to make stretchers to stretch canvas. Music is on sometimes; don’t always need it. I sometimes prefer to paint without media. This helps me to really think deeply to resolve ideas regarding artwork and aspects of life in general. Then I'll have a red bull and a joint, get rambunctious, and make crazy decisions. I like a hectic work environment.

Is there anything you'd like to explore in the future? New mediums or new themes?

I always have new ideas but rarely stick with them. I had an idea one time to paint a still life with high end electronics made up of human flesh. Thought that would convey people’s attachment to material things. That was almost ten years ago. Now that I'm thinking about it, maybe I'll actually do that!

You can find more of Jonathan's work @job_farley