Artist Jonas Gerard’s unique style of painting has endeared him closer to many art enthusiasts and exhibitors. Born in Morocco in the early 40’s, Gerard has maintained strong links with his North African birthplace. The self-taught artist is well-versed in spontaneous abstract expressionist style of painting. A scion of surrealism, this art movement sprinted after World War II and focuses on subconscious creation. Gerard is also familiar with illustrative, narrative and three-dimensional styles of painting expression. Besides painting, Gerard is a proud owner of two 5,000sq ft. art galleries. The galleries are located in the creative River Arts District in North Carolina.
His greatest inspiration is music. While painting, Gerard applies random strokes of color and works intuitively, in-sync with the rhythm of the music and his inner intuition. Jonas Gerard grew up listening to different types of music, the most notable include the Brazilian Samba, French Café’ music, Moroccan ethnic and Afro-Cuban tunes. Owing to his painting prowess, Jonas Gerard has been invited to numerous solo and group exhibitions. The most famous venues include Henri Gallery, Washington DC; Tunberry Gallery, Miami and Tavelli Gallery in Aspen. Gerard is following in the footsteps of great Abstract Expressionist like Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock.
What’s your favorite subject in school?
I was not fond of school due to my dyslexia. In those days, no one knew what it was.
What was your first job?
I’ve been an artist for the best part of my life.
How did it all start?
I was born in 1941 and got inducted into the arts at an early age before settling onto abstract expressionism. In the 70’s I emerged as one of the most recognized contemporary artists. Over the course of my career I have participated in numerous exhibitions across different states in the US.
How have the previous engagements prepared you for what you’re currently doing?
Visiting various galleries for solo and group exhibitions has opened my eyes to the hidden treasures of the art world. I have had many successful outings in some of the best galleries in the US such as Mary Bell Gallery in Chicago and Artist in Residence Gallery, Coconut Grove in Florida. Besides learning from other artists during the exhibition, I have had the pleasure to share my world with art lovers, buyers and critics. My clients come from as far as Europe, South America and Asia.
Describe your best day at work?
This happened sometime in 2015 when I painted a mural dubbed “Life, Love and Passion”. The painting is one of my favorite visual embodiments of love. The massive 8ft x 30ft piece of art hangs prominently over the entrance to Asheville’s Riverview Station.
How do you keep your spirits high or motivated?
Music continues to inspire my work and so is light. Brilliant light dominates my art pieces as evidence in the copiousness of color and warmth. My preferred medium of painting is acrylics on canvas and collage objects. I always use the Golden Acrylic paints. Pertaining to music, I can trace my love for music to Morocco. The other facet is my Brazilian and French heritage.
Which business ideas do you find most exciting?
The craft business ideas that I find stimulating are photography and glass blowing. With photography, aspiring and seasoned artist can create a business by printing photos and selling them to clients. I have a friend who makes a tidy sum blowing hot glass to make attractive vases and beads. This fascinating business idea is imaginative and promising for creatives.
Have you ever used any unconventional techniques to attract business?
Not at all. The market is sufficiently divergent to accommodate different artists and their styles. My style of painting stands out because it exploits the free-form and the music cadence. For marketing purposes, I use social media and the online gallery to sell my work and promote visibility. The galleries also attract high foot traffic, which can be nurtured and converted into sales.
What individual achievement are you most proud about?
I have several notable achievements, among them being named the Artist of the Year 2008 by the respectable, Asheville Area Arts Council. I’ve also had many good days at work; one of the most exciting is appearing on the popular 20/20 news special on ABC to discuss happiness in America. In 1975, I presented President Ford my work “We The People” as the official Bicentennial Portrait of America. The Smithsonian still has it in their collection today!
What word of wisdom would you have liked to share with your young self?
Let the allure to make money not distract your attention from creating something your heart desires.