Interview: D.R. Jones

D. R. Jones

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Describe the time you first realized that creating was something you absolutely had to do? How old were you? Who or what inspired you at the beginning of your art life?  Who or what inspires your art life today?

When I was a kid, my family spent many summers vacationing in New Mexico. On one of these trips, we spent a day wandering through the shops and galleries of Santa Fe. I was immediately drawn to the bold, vibrant colors of the local artwork. I was especially drawn to the Native artists that depicted a rich cultural history and had a living connection to their ancestral past. I’m still inspired and influenced by American Fauvists like John Nieto, Malcolm Furlow, and Jeff Ham.

Why do you make art?  What are you trying to communicate with your art?  What element(s) of your inner spirit is reflected in your art?

For me, art is a way to depict a real world subject (animals, people, places) in a mythical world setting. My goal is to combine my personal mythology with the cultural mythology of the American West. The personal mythology is a product of growing up on the High Plains and ranchlands of Texas. The cultural mythology is drawn from the evolving popular culture perceptions of the historical American Frontier - from Tonto and the Lone Ranger, to Gunsmoke, to Little Big Man, to Dances With Wolves.

Is the atmosphere or design layout of your creative space/studio an important element in your creative process—why or why not?  Is there something—a keepsake, an inspirational quotation, a photograph—you keep in your studio for inspiration or motivation

My working space is not particularly important to me. I just need good light (natural or artificial) and enough room to step back and get a full frame view of works in progress. I do have one quotation tacked on the wall that helps me focus. “Given an equal amount of intelligence, timidity will cause a thousand times more problems than audacity.” Good advice for life as well as art.

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What kind of routines or rituals do you incorporate into your creative time? If you have one element or principle of art you enjoy working with the most, please describe it? 

The most important work habit for me is to just get in the studio, crank up the music, and start slinging paint. I do spend a fair amount of time thinking about the composition and color choices, but nothing happens until I stand in front of the easel with brush in hand and get to work.

Currently, which creative medium do you work in? What, if any, other creative medium would you love to pursue?

I work almost exclusively with acrylic paint on gallery wrapped canvas. I have some ideas for sculptural work, but it hasn’t happened yet.

What is your most important artist tool?  How does this tool factor into your art making?

My most important tool is a paint brush. Can’t do much without something to smear paint with!

How do you keep yourself motivated?

If my motivation lags or inspiration can’t be found, I go to a museums or an art gallery and a hundred ideas pop into my head. If it’s not convenient to get to a museum or gallery, I can just Google some of my favorite artists, and I get the same mental boost.

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What one piece of advice would you give to an artist just getting started?

Just do it! Don’t wait until you’re “good enough”. Your first attempts will probably suck, but each work you create will teach you what works for you and what doesn’t. Then keep going!

For what one thing would you like to be remembered?

For creating art that helps the viewer see the world as the magical place that it is.

Describe yourself in one word.

Colorful!

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