"The Samurai" poster (unframed)
I made this painting during my “residency” at Jugglers Art Space in Brisbane, Australia, shortly after visiting Japan. It is somewhat of a pair with my “Anicca” buddha painting, as these two were created in the same space and time during my travels, and together mark the genesis of a new aesthetic for me. Statues and sculptures proved to be the most impactful objects during all my travels, and have predominated in my murals. This Samurai piece is where I started really pushing the temperature contrast within my newfound color palette of vibrant blue-greens against a warm brown atmosphere, and also marks my first use of spray paint, which creates the speckled atmosphere that I love and have continued to expand upon. I remember being super nervous about spray painting the image, because I had no skills with a can and it's a pretty irrevocable mark. I use spray paint to gradually build atmosphere, where the countless tiny specks appear as airborne particles at varying distances reflecting light, which creates an air that seems portentous or other-worldly, further decontextualizing the scene and adding to the surrealness, as one can’t precisely place the environment.
The figure in this piece is from my drawing of the imposing statue of Toyotomi Hideyoshi at Osaka Castle, in Japan. I was struck by the gravity and poise of the figure, and thought the view from behind conveyed that best, adding a sense of mystery and intrigue. As always, however, relationships of color, edges, light, and composition are the true primary actors in the image. In the bottom left sits my Japanese signature as it were. I thought it would be fun to sign these paintings with the signature my Japanese friend created for me, which is a possible way to phonetically write “Jonny.”
During this time at Jugglers Art Space is also when my dreams of painting huge murals and traveling as a street artist crystallized. I met some amazing street artists there and got to experience the viability of painting walls, both public and private. I am forever grateful for the guidance, inspiration, and friendship that each person at Jugglers, especially the director Pete for taking me in and giving me the space and materials to make art, provided at that time.
The original is acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 36"x48" These durable, museum-quality posters are printed on archival, acid-free matte paper.