Friday, 1 December 2006

Interview with Jon Claytor

Q)So, can you tell me a little about yourself? Full name, age, some background info, etc?

A)Hi, my name is Jon Claytor and I am 34 years old. I live in Eastern Canada, in a big old farm house and I paint in my barn. I am a single father with three children who show up in many of my paintings. I was married to singer songwritter Julie Doiron for a long time and we are still good friends.

Q)How did you get started making art?

A)My mother was an artist and worked at home. I grew up painting and drawing along with her. She taught me a lot. I don't think I was a natural but I never developed a talent for anything else so I became and artist. I did try and live life as a carpenter but it was not for me.

Q) How would you describe your art?

A)I am interested in the connection between abstraction and emotion and body language and emotion, I try to combine the abstract and the figurative in a way that hightens the feeling and mood of a piece. Of course I hate to describe my work, it is better to just look at it.

Q)Where do you get the inspiration for your art?

A)I am mostly inspired by my friends and family. There ups and downs and everyday joys and struggles. I am also very inspired by movie. I don't think I would have become an artist if it were not for the films of David Lynch and Alfred Hitchcock. But I also love to go see trashy b thrillers and then come home and paint with my heart still racing.

Q) What are you working on now?

A)Right now I am working on a series about a teenage couple at an out door drinking party. They are in love, drunk, and wearing Kiss (the band) face paint. They are rebellious and scared. I am also working on a series of an elderly couple who are tough as nails.

Q)How do you approach the creation of a new piece... How does everything come together?

A)I usually go for a long walk and the painting comes to me. Then I set about making it and everything goes wrong. When I am done it is something totally different.

Q)What's your favorite medium to work in, and why?

A)I love oil paint because it is like mud.

Q) Do you collect anything?

A)I collect small pieces of metal, from machines or cars that I find on the side of the road.

Q) Is your work all hand done? Or do you use any computer tools to help out?

A)My work is entirely hand done.

Q)What, in your opinion, are the best and worst places to exhibit artwork?

A)I love to exhibit in places where people who don't go to galleries will see it. Like a restaurant or someone's house. Of course then the paintings often get food on them which is bad. Some galleries are wonderful it all depends on the feeling of the space. Warehouses and industrial places are the most pleasing to look at. The worst place to exhibit art might be McDonalds or the mall.

Q)What are your artistic influences?

A)Nan Golden, Picasso, Egon, Klimpt, Rubens, Goya, Schnabel, Tony Sherman, Mary Ellen Mark, Dianne Arbus, Bjork, Bob Dylan, Lynch, Fassbinder, Hitchcock, Wilder, Raymond Pettibon, Alice Neel, Manet, Herman Dune.

Q)How are the reactions on your work in general?

A)Often people really dislike my work but then over time come to love it. I think of the paintings as people and like people they are loved by some and not by others.

Q) What are you doing when you are not creating art?

A)The only thing I do beside create art is take care of and spend time with my children.

Q)What are some of the greatest challenges that you think artists face today?

A)Getting seen and getting people to talk about what they see. art is one of the most underground mediums especially compared to film or music. I think it is up to the artist's to change this and to make work that speaks to people.

Q) What is freedom to you as an artist?


Q) Are there any particular works you've done that stand out as your favorites?

A)Every year or two I do a painting that I am happy with, and that I compare the other paintings to. Untitled, Splatterwoman is one and "1979: The Year I first became conscious of the passage of time and the Pittsburgh Pirates won the world series" is another.

Q)What it the coolest thing you have seen recently while wandering the streets?

A)A dog running along the edge of a hill while the wind and rain blew sharp as razors and three black crows circled above. It was nice.
Q)Do you carry a notebook? Do you draw in public?


Q)Who are your favorite artists & Your favorite galleries?

A)Here are my current favorite Canadian Artists: Kim Dorland, Margeux Williamson, Emily Duke, Daniel Barrow, Tony Sherman, Kevin Lewis, Rachel Berman and Brian Burke. I don't have a favorite gallery other then Ingram where I show because the people there are so lovely.

Q)Do you get emotionally attached to your work and do you miss your work when it is sold?

A) I don't but my children do. My little girl cries when the paintings are loaded into the truck for shipping especially if it is one of her brother or sister. She is getting used to it though. I think of the paintings as starting out on a new and exciting life when they leave home.

Q)Your contacts..E-mail.links



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