In any language, DéJonDé means art! DéJonDé focuses on all aspects of the arts and artists’ careers; it also exists to educate the public on the work of these artists and to encourage support and participation in the arts.
I am a southern artist from Tifton, Georgia. I’ve been residing in Atlanta for 17 years. As a child, I was doing portraits of my siblings at age eight. I majored in art at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and Clark Atlanta University.
A lot of my work is portraiture and music themed. I believe that art and music are one and the same. Music, the feeling, the flow can be translated though art, paint and pencil.
I have artwork that is part of the collection at Trevor Arnett Gallery at Clark Atlanta University.
I am the co-creator along with Deborah Miller and Maya Neiada of a show called #IheARTandSOUL. This creative show features independent vocalists singing an acoustic set of original music and covers accompanied by live art by yours truly. It’s a bimonthly event at Kat’s Cafe in Atlanta.
You can also find me creating live art at IWI Fresh Spa every second Friday of the month for the Red Light District event hosted by the Red Panty Society as part of the Castleberry Hill Art Stroll.
I’m looking at all for fabulous work and I’m inspired by everything I am seeing right now. What exactly inspires you to paint? It’s funny but what inspires me most is probably music. It really puts me in the right vibe and the right mood to paint. It’s why a lot of my paintings are of musicians.
That’s really neat. Tell me about your paintings. Do you prefer to paint with actual paint or do you prefer sketching and where do you get that inspiration? I prefer sketching just because that’s what I originally started doing as a kid, using pencils and drawing. Lately I have been experimenting a lot with paint and different media whether it’s paint, color pencils or markers to do artwork. Whatever I can get to bring out the right pop and the right balance to change things up.
Lets go back to your childhood. When was it as a child that you first discovered your love for the arts and that you were actually really good? I guess I was probably eight years old and I would start drawing different things. I figured out I could draw sketches of my siblings. I would sit around and see photos of them and I would do sketches of them. That’s when I discovered that I’m pretty good at this and my parents saw my talent and what I could really do.
There are many artists out there can you tell me what makes you stand out as an artist and is there any thing in particular that’s unique about your style? Well, there aren’t that many people that do live art at events that’s one thing that makes me stand out. I like that fact that the audience can see me create my work from start to finish. That’s something people don’t get to see all the time, to see the artist creative process. Usually they see the finished picture on the wall but they don’t know how it was made.
Tell me about that process. If I’m an audience member and I’m coming to see you for the very first time what would that experience be like for me? You’ll see the canvas setup on the easel next to the wall with me standing in front of it with my signature hat and my iHeart shirt. You will see me starting from a black canvas or from a small faint sketch, and you will see me slowly build up into the work of art. I might start outlining and sketching the art adding a little color. If it’s a live event where there’s music playing you might see me dance a little bit and throw my hands in the air as I’m painting while moving my brush to the rhythm of the music. Music really inspires me; I never do art without playing some music whether it’s on my iPod or at a show. You’ll see it slowly evolve from an outlined sketch to me doing the face, eyes, clothes and eventually the background, it builds up to a piece.
Do you have an idea already before you start the performance of what you are going to paint or do you get the inspiration from the music, singer or even the audience? Sometimes I’ll have a basic idea of what I want to paint. I may want to paint from a photo and I’ll have a basic sketch, but the colors I’ll totally come up with on the spot. Some times even though I have something that I’m painting or drawing from I will switch it up, and it will come out totally different from the photo I was drawing from.
How would you categorize your art and if you could put your art in a category what best fits you? My art is realistic it’s portraiture, I love doing peoples faces catching those slight nuances of a persons face that makes them themselves. All the little characteristics, maybe a smirk and a smile a twinkle in the eye a little shape of the eyebrow a dimple whatever it is that makes their personality come thru.
What are your current career goals with your art within the next 1-3 years where do you see yourself going? I would love to have art exhibitions in a lot of different cities, here in Atlanta, New York and even in other countries.
What about art galleries is that an option? Yes. I would love to have my art showcased in art galleries as well as continuing to do live shows.
If you had the opportunity to change anything about your artwork what would it be and why? What’s funny is that in art you are trying to translate, you have this picture in your mind how it’s suppose to look and then you have what your actually doing on canvas and your trying to get that picture from your brain down to your hand to the brush and then to the canvas. I want it to look more like what’s in my head. Oddly enough it may look way off. I’m trying to things as realistic as possible. Sometimes it comes out looking a little more whimsical and that adds to the creativity of it and gives it even more punch. Art is so objective that it may be something that didn’t turn out the way in intended it to but it’s something people would love. The audience would think he must have meant for it to look like this when I was totally trying to go in a different direction. I would like stuff to look like it does when I see it in my head but maybe its not suppose to. Maybe some times its best that it comes out the way that it comes out.
If you had five minutes on earth to paint one great painting and to impact the world what would be that painting be and why would you choose that particular piece? I have thought a lot about doing social political pieces or pieces of art that relate to something that is going on in the news and society that affects the world. I think as an artist it’s important to do that. To reflect the environment and community and what’s going on around you. So, I would do a piece that relates to that if I had just five minutes left to do a painting.
Now this is just for fun for our readers to get to know you a little better. I would like you to fill in the blanks to the following questions.
Without art I would be? Very sad.
Art is? Life
My art makes me feel? Tingly inside energetic.
I paint because? I have a build up of ideas and energy that I have to get out.
People should be support art because? It’s a valued part of our community and we need that. We need that balance of creativity in the world. We also need something in the world that makes us think, reflect and act. It’s the same reason why we should have art in schools and programs shouldn’t be closed. It expands the mind and expands your horizons, it expands every thing and that is why it should be supported.
Thank you very much Jason for allowing us time to conduct this interview with you. It has been a pleasure.
Contact Jason here:
email: firstname.lastname@example.orgJason Hightower ~ JHighArt I am a southern artist from Tifton, Georgia. I’ve been residing in Atlanta for 17 years. As a child, I was doing portraits of my siblings at age eight.
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