Now through to January 1st, Fringe Portland features the art of Thornbury’s own Jon Houghton.
A Little About Jon:
Jon studied Fine Arts at Mount Allison University where he specialized in painting and drawing. He then moved to Greece where he studied classical painting at the Aegean Centre for Fine Arts before returning to Toronto to round out his studies with a year at OCAD. In addition to his art and installations, which have been featured in galleries across Canada, he also owns a studio/gallery in downtown Collingwood.
Jon works with oil on canvas. His signature landscapes feature bold colors and graphic style.
An Interview with the Artist:
Tell me about yourself, where are you from, how old are you, do you have any pets and what are your hobbies?
I'm from Thornbury. No pets. When I'm not painting I'm watching movies, I attempt to play banjo, and I collect records. I go skiing/snowboarding a lot in the winter and really enjoyed trying surfing recently.
Can you tell me about how you first came to visual art?
I've been drawing all my life. I originally wanted to make cartoons or comics. After high school I wanted to get into animation but was told had to get a more basic fine arts degree first. I took painting and drawing at Mount Allison University and realized I really enjoyed painting and I sort of lost interest animation. I went to Greece to study classical art history and painting techniques at the Aegean Centre of Fine Arts. Then I came back and went to OCAD for a year and afterwards moved back to Thornbury.
Is art your full time gig? And if it is, can you tell me about how you managed to make it your full time work?
I've been painting full time for 5 years. I've been selling paintings for about 12 years but I was able to paint full time when I opened a studio/gallery space in downtown Collingwood. It started as a pop up shop in an empty retail space and it was successful enough in the first month that I was able to rent the space for the next month and then it just kept going. The storefront allows me to display my work and be available to customers while still getting lots of painting done. I spend about 30-35 hours a week painting and finish about 10-15 paintings a month. Doing commissioned paintings has definitely helped keep me in business too.
I don't know much about art, but I've heard that inspiration can come in phases or that artists move through different themes in their work at different times. Are you in any particular phase right now? What's inspiring your latest pieces of art?
I always had a problem creating a unified body of work so my plan has been to just paint anything and everything that I think would make an interesting painting and eventually an overall theme or style will come through. I think my style has gradually changed over the years and become cleaner and more graphic but the subject matter is still all over the place. If I see something funny, pretty or interesting I'll take a photo and paint it. I've also been taking painting trips lately where I'll go camping and paint out in the woods for a few days.
What piece of work do you love the most and why?
I don't have one favourite anymore, more like a top twenty. I was particularly proud of the star wars series. Most of my favourites are the ones that make me laugh. Some examples would be the dog wearing goggles, the kid with the face and glasses on his butt, and a copy I did of Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World" where I added jaguars.
Fun Fact: “Christina’s World” is one of my favorites too. Jon is also available for commission and work is featured at Studio67 until January 1st and you are welcome to drop by and see it anytime. We love company.
Until next time,