I consider myself to be first and foremost a portrait painter, and my work ranges from the fanciful to the classically realistic. I trace my painting career back to a cartoon I created in 1986. The cartoon depicted a forehead, a caricature of my own face from the eyes up. From there I started painting "forehead portraits" that captured my subjects from the nose up. I have moved down the face over the years, but my focus on close-up portraiture remains. Whether I'm painting a fraction or an entire face, in a whimsical or realistic way, what remains consistent is my interest in creating a well crafted, arresting image.
In 1994, I studied with an inspirational rabbi in Israel; before long, I was painting fictitious portraits of orthodox rabbis, a stylistic breakthrough for me. The elongated, bearded visage of this rabbi conveyed so much history and so much wisdom. I felt I couldn't do him justice without giving him a mouth. In recent times, I've had a strong need for my peaceful rabbis to confront some serious issues and put their mouths to use by engaging in meaningful dialogue.
Seeking ways to bring new life into my portraiture, I turned to still life. I began painting objects, crowns, books, musical instruments, and, most often, food on the heads of my subjects. These "hats" give my portraiture another dimension: sometimes surreal, sometimes humorous, and many times suggestive of a larger story line.
I am a Washington DC native. I studied art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (while attending Emerson College). I have had one-man shows all over the world, in New York City; Washington, DC; Seattle; Provincetown, MA; Boston; Los Angeles; New Orleans; London; Berlin; Tel Aviv; and Prague.
I have been living in Brooklyn, NY since 1999 and I have had a storefront/studio space ever since then. My storefront, on 5th Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn is where I create and sell my work. My studio is open by appointment and by luck. Most evenings I am in my studio after 9pm and working very late into the night. I have had many gallery shows over the years but I've made my living in large part by selling my artwork directly to the public which continues to be a pleasure for me.
Storefront Studio | 285 5th Avenue | Brooklyn, NY 11215 | (718) 499-0199
Copyright ©2003-2010. All rights reserved. All art and images contained within this website are the sole property of Jonathan Blum. Reproduction of this material without the artist's permission is not permitted.