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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Gillia Cutshall

ARTIST-A-DAY-BLOG: Inside A Generous Kingdom V & the Piercing Vision of artist, Jonathan Murrill

" see that my work does not represent an idealistic beauty, but rather, it represents the spirit of the individual and the depth of character that they possess."

Jonathan Murrill

How does your work interact with the theme of “A Generous Kingdom V: Art that Explores Story, Symbolism, and Beyond”?

As a portrait artist I find that my process is continually revolving around creating a narrative. The narrative of each of my pieces generally begins with choosing an expression that captures the essence of the person. Once I have created a bond between the marks on the page and the personality of the individual I can then explore how that individual can imprint their story on the audience. This

connection between the subject, the viewer, and myself is what excites me as an artist.

What draws you to the medium you chose? And tell us a little about your process.

Portraiture has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I have always gravitated towards the expressions of the face in drawing, painting, sculpture or any art form I have put my hands to. In the past five years I have worked primarily in charcoals to explore how it can provide heightened textures and contrast when depicting flesh, tattoos, hair, or any surface. I have found that through working in charcoal I am able capture a photorealistic stage for the audience to interact with the personality of each portrait.  This process involves many layers to create a lifelike and captivating surface to interact with. Each area of the face, figure or outside elements is a different challenge to recreate and stylize. I find that charcoal is the perfect medium for me at this stage in my experiments.

Who inspires you? And What do you do to get inspired?

I am mostly inspired by the faces around me. I find that to keep the integrity of my work I must focus on the tangible faces in my life rather than looking outwardly to achieve inspiration. In my personal work I maintain a relationship with each of the individuals I depict in my drawings. This relationship to the individual is key in portraiture as it helps me further understand how to uncover the essence of each individual.

If you could have coffee or tea with any artist who would you pick? What would you have coffee or tea? What would you ask that artist?

If I could sit down with one artist it would be Caravaggio. I would love for him to share his perspective on how the arts have evolved over the past few hundred years. I would also be interested to hear his point of view on the events during his lifetime and his use of chiaroscuro.

What do you hope your work achieves, in general, and specifically with this installation?

I hope that my work translates the essence and the soul of the individual I am drawing. It is incredibly important to me as the artist to give a voice to the person I am depicting. The audience must see their true self rather than just interact with their outward appearance. Overall, I want them to see that my work does not represent an idealistic beauty, but rather, it represents the spirit of the individual and the depth of character that they possess.

If you could tell your viewers one thing, what would you tell them?

I would challenge my audience to try their hand at portraiture. I feel that artists using any medium can heighten their influence on any subject once they attempt to depict the soul of a human being.

I am currently working on an “inspiring icons” series that I am using to spread the positive impact one person can make on the world around them.

And If you are interested in my work please view and follow my Instagram account @jonmdraws or visit my website



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