We were lucky to catch up with Randall Jones recently and have shared our conversation below.
Randall, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Can you talk to us about a project that’s meant a lot to you?
I feel so fortunate anytime I’m asked to contribute to a project that I really can get behind, and luckily that really has been the vast majority of my experience. So many painters do a couple of dog portraits for their friends and then get pigeonholed into doing pet commissions for years and have a hard time being seen as anything else. I’ve just heard that kind of story so many times, and in some miracle of probably none of my own doing, I was just able to dodge all of that and get to work on projects for people that felt so meaningful. Off the top of my head in recent years I’ve gotten to contribute what I do with painting and turn that into album covers, wedding portraits, memorial portraits, and public murals. I’m working on painting a movie poster for a feature film at the moment. The most meaningful project I’ve worked on and will always work on though is the continuous project of my own paintings and u sing that to explore what I’m feeling, thinking, how I see. Maybe this is too much but sometimes it feels like painting can be another hand for you to touch the world with and get a sense of who you are or something. That’s a lot of the value of creative work for me is to just learn about who I am, and since who I am is constantly changing, I feel like I’m just trying to use painting as some kind of tool to help me catch up and find where the updated version of me has gone if that makes sense. Looking back at old paintings now, they’re a reflection of who I was much more than I could see at the time I made them.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
How I got into this painting world is always such an interesting question for me to look back on because I really am not so sure I know. I think I’ve always been making stuff. Like so many people, I have this façade of being an average boring person. It’s not even really a façade. Sometimes what I want is to just sit outside all day or stay at home and cook the same thing I make every night. But there’s also this real weirdo half. I don’t know how to talk about that side of myself as much, and that’s why I think I’ve always gravitated toward making things that mirrored back to me who I was, or told me something about that side of myself. So I think how I got into making things is basically having a busy internal world that needed to get out of me somehow. I remember in highschool I was in some computer class and I was just using my computer to look at Monet paintings and not getting any work done. That’s really my first memory of caring about painting specifically. I thought for a long time that I wanted to make art for videogames, painting these big digital worlds to explore, but as I was taking art classes in college, I really liked creating a physical picture that was supposed to be looked at in our physical world. I feel like as so much of visual media is on the screen now, I get excited about creating a visual experience in the physical world and the possibilities that go along with that.
How can we best help foster a strong, supportive environment for artists and creatives?
There’s been so many positive changes for supporting creatives in the last few years. It all feels kind of grassroots again or something. I guess I would like to see more of society embrace the local gallery scene. In any major city and in many smaller towns there’s at least one beautiful gallery where if you went there right now there would be nothing but a few friendly faces, work hung up that you think is interesting, and maybe even some free wine. But instead people go out to the bar at Chili’s or something and if the conversation turns to art, it’s so often talked about like there’s something that they’re not getting about art or that it’s pretentious and above them. I would like to just imprint on the public that they’re just pictures. Paintings are just pictures that someone spent time making. It doesn’t have to be deeper than that. There’s deep meaning in music and hardly anyone says that music in general is pretentious or that they just couldn’t understand music. You just go as deeply into it as you’d like. At some point, art got slapped with this label that gives it such a barrier to entry in some peoples minds. I’m sure on some level it’s the art world’s doing, and that was good for the bottom line of famous artists who wanted to charge an absurd amount of money for their work. But as hard as it is to do this, I have to kind of show gratitude to things like Instagram and TikTok for at least giving artists this new platform to have a career and show their work, and for art lovers to see new work that they fall in love with.
For you, what’s the most rewarding aspect of being a creative?
I’ve been learning how to be myself a lot more lately and I’m realizing that for me the most rewarding aspect of painting is to be myself as much as possible; which is also the fun part. Hunting down which instincts feel right and following those as deeply as I can, then showing that work to other people and seeing if it resonates. That’s a very true kind of connection I think. To put all of your goofy, embarrassing self into what you do and see it impact someone because they really feel that same way. And I mean I get why people don’t do it. I’m sure most of my time making things I haven’t done it and am just starting to really understand this principle. It’s hard to know yourself, even harder to express it, and the rejection is so much worse if it doesn’t resonate with anyone. If you make something you don’t really have your heart in or show your true self in and nobody likes it, well that’s much easier. But the little time and attention we have is so valuable and to spend much of it all on making something that doesn’t really get me jazzed just doesn’t seem worth it. Explore your interior yourself, explore this place that we live, and make things about what you find. I think sharing whatever that looks like for yourself is so meaningful and important. I hope everyone can find some way to do that.
- Website: randalljonesart.com
- Instagram: @randalljonesart